Falling Apart (2013 short) review…

What can you do with two days and six minutes? Not a whole lot… After the break…

Falling Apart (2013 short) review…

I watch the television series “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” In that series, a group of comedians are given a series of challenges and must generate humorous content on the spot. For example, two comedians must sing a song about a champion sumo wrestler who likes to fish in his spare time and it must be sung in the style of classic 80s heavy metal. Go.

The entertainment value of the series is in realizing that, more often than not, those comedians are very proficient at instantly generating humorous content. However, part of the entertainment value is in knowing that they are generating that content right there at the moment. Subconsciously, you are slightly forgiving the material for not being as humorous as it could be because you are appreciating the spontaneous creation of the content. It may not be very funny, but it is funny enough and you appreciate it all the more because of how it was created.

Falling Apart is a 6-minute 2013 short film that was created under similar circumstances: A team of filmmakers were given a line of dialog, a prop and a title, then given 48 hours to completely finish a film… Special effects, title sequence, color correcting, sound, everything. Go.

The result, though, is not as amusing or entertaining than four comedians who must instantly sing a medley about giant bees that play guitars.

To be clear, it takes talent to create a short film and it takes considerable talent to create such a short film within 48 hours of being given the limitations. Yet the end result does not justify the means.

The premise is that two scientists (Anna Skellern and Charlie Clements) are stuck inside of a bunker, hurriedly trying to understand a pandemic that causes hallucinations. One of the scientists than has a hallucination and it is not known whether or not that scientist has unwittingly killed the other. The end.

It is difficult to have any sort of meaningful story arc within 6 minutes (see my opinion about the 1-minute film earlier) and the film certainly looks, sounds and feels movie quality. Where the deficiency lies is in the delivery of the conclusion. To spoil the film, the scientist wakes up with the other scientist being in one position, goes somewhere and than comes back with the other scientist (now apparently dead) being in another position. If the scientist really did kill the other scientist, than the other scientist would have to be in the same position for when the first scientist returned. The film doesn’t follow it’s own logic: At what point are we supposed to suspend our disbelief that what we are seeing may or may not be real? It would have been one thing for the scientist to wake up and the other scientist is already in their “death” position (because, you know, the scientist killed the other one) but they aren’t. So, if we can’t trust anything within the last 2 or so minutes of the film, where is the impact of the conclusion that the scientist killed the other scientist? This dilemma reminds me of the film “Return to Horror High” in which the gimmick of “Is what you are seeing real or a movie within a movie?” is used far too often for it to be effective and the end result of that film caused the viewer to be emotionally detached from the film. A similar result is here: If I can’t trust that what the film is showing me is real, I’m not invested in it. It’s just fake money – It has no value.

When comedians are pressed to perform a skit using nothing more than the contents of some random ladies’ purses, it’s funny for a number of reasons. There’s a social awkwardness for having the contents of your purse revealed (or some I’m told); You are appreciating the skill of the comedians in having to instantly weave a compelling sketch using those contents; You are also wondering if you yourself could perform such a feat.

There is no such translation, though, for a 6-minute film made under the duress of 48 hours. Yes, it takes skill and talent in doing so but there is no personal connection. There is a different standard at play: People walk into a film knowing that it was purposefully made as opposed to watching a stand-up comedian who needs to always be quick with their wit in order to gauge audience reaction and to deal with potential hecklers.

“Falling Apart” may be impressive for how it was made but it isn’t that impressive in actual film content. While the limitations may entertain those who are close to the film creation business, it is less entertaining for those who seek entertainment from it.


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