Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the science fiction short THREE POINT DYNAMICS by writer/director Keaton Smith. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:
“An alcoholic, theoretical physicist seeks to right the wrongs of his past by applying his unified theory to reality.”
Our lead, Henry, might be one of the most sympathetic characters I have seen in a short in quite some time. This was interesting because as we spend more time with him, we see that he was a deeply flawed person who was justly punished for his wrongs. Even knowing that, from the moment we see him obsessively rambling on about his theory to the final frame, the script does a great job of capturing the idea of someone who is trying to fix the past.
It also helps that the performance given by Jim Philips has a melancholy grace. There is an especially sad moment where we see a present day event reminding him of his past misdeed that Mr. Philips uses to perfectly personify grief. This is what makes his performance so good, we find ourselves completely on his side even though it is clear that his time away has driven him a bit crazy.
The production design is top notch, from the subtle camera work to the more notable focus on geometry; this is a nice short to view. I especially appreciated picking out the various shapes that they packed into each frame as it spoke to our character’s obsession with geometry as it relates to time travel. It was interesting seeing the shapes around him turn from circles to a more triangulated look as he begins to hammer home his theory.
I am not going to lie; the story presented is a bit of a downer. We essentially spend the entire run time watching a sad character trying to dig up getting constantly shoved back down again. Sure, he has some small victories along the way, but for the most part it seems like he cannot win for trying. That being said, stick through the credits as the final shot provided me with a chuckle and the idea that maybe there is something greater at play.
All in all, this is a well composed piece with one of the most sympathetic characters I have ever come across in a short. The performance by Jim Philips alone is worth the cost of entry as he really humanizes his role. Those who want a more scientific approach to time travel like that presented in PRIMER (2004) combined with a character that has the obsessive compulsive nature of Dustin Hoffman in RAIN MAN (1988) should give this a shot.
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