I was immediately impressed with the videography of the short, MY BROTHER CHARLIE from director Evan Hamza. Each scene is balanced, with center visuals striking enough to pull the viewer in. Close-ups add intensity to what would otherwise be mundane images, which create a snowball effect in building suspense. The voice-over character's blue eyes in the second shot, icy and unreadable, set the tone for the rest of the film.
In many films, a lack of dialogue can be indicative of lazy writing but in the case of MY BROTHER CHARLIE the visuals speak for themselves, while the voice-over's (somewhat) repetitive lines serve as a kind of background track in the viewer's mind. We're forced to really watch the film in order to understand what's happening. We look for clues that the narrator is seemingly oblivious to because (we assume) he's too biased to see them. It's an engaging way to tell a story and my attention never wavered. On a personal level, I'm a sucker for an unreliable narrator and MY BROTHER CHARLIE delivers such.
Most impressive, though, is the trust so easily gained through the calm, reassuring voice of a child narrator and multiple visits to the image of a kind-faced boy with blue eyes. Blue is a soothing color, often used in film and fiction to denote a "good" character. In six short minutes, the narrator wins us over fully, giving the ending the "what the shit just happened" reaction it deserves.
MY BROTHER CHARLIE will be having it's Toronto Premiere at Blood in the Snow Film Festival on Friday, November 25th at 9:30pm.