Updated: Nov 29, 2022
A BAFTA qualifying, romantic, short film about a son retracing the steps of his late Father, with the hopes of recreating a photo of him but soon finding out his own story is just beginning.
With a premise that centres heavily on a personal journey, it would be easy for a film like this to over explain character and story and end up creating a bloated film out of a simple premise. The fact that director and co-writer Tommy Clarke and co-writer Ken Kwek manage to deliver a complete story arc, unrushed and succinctly is just one of many things to love about this film. Following the story of Frank (Freddie Wise) who embarks on a mission to cheer up his grieving mother by recreating a photo of his father in his youth, we are taken on an adventure that plants the seeds of a brand-new love story even as we see the aftermath of the end of one.
There are no wasted shots in this film. The melancholy opening is given the breathing room it needs for the audience to sit with the grief felt by both mother and son, while simultaneously progressing Frank’s mission. Additionally, we are launched into Frank’s own love story without delay, encountering photographer Cristina (Ellise Chappell) inside of the first three minutes. While the film sets a steady pace, none of the events seem rushed or contrived. This is helped along by Wise and Chappell proving to have a compelling chemistry which immediately gets us on board for their burgeoning journey.
Tommy Clarke sets just the right tone between the guidance of the performances, the visual style and the use of Rob Lewis’ score, to settle us into the sentimental and heartfelt experience he intends to deliver, without the film becoming saccharine. Moreover, Wise and Chappell’s earnest approach to their characters coupled with Clarke being unafraid to embrace some of the well-worn visual cues of many a romantic film allows us to settle in to exactly the kind of story that it is meant to be.
It is also worth pointing out that this film looks a lot more expensive than it is (circa £20K according to IMDB). This is not so much because of anything flashy or the use of any effect or technique that draws attention to itself. This is more the fact that there is a self-assuredness to the shot choices (including aerial shots along coastal roads) and the relaxed manner in which Clarke and Director of Photography Lorenzo Levrini capture the moments of connection between Frank and Cristina. Being comfortable enough to keep things simple allows them to be capture key moments beautifully, leading to a virtually flawless visual experience, which only serves to enhance the emotional one.
In the end, being unafraid to be straightforward is this film’s greatest asset. Engaging with a story that is not trying to subvert your expectations or upend your experience with a twist is surprisingly refreshing. Clarke and Kwek construct a story with charm and warmth, and its translation to the screen is executed with craft and heart. Reappear is exactly the kind of movie that will never fail to put a smile on your face.
Studio: Reappear Film | Year: 2020 | Genre: Drama/Romance | Duration: 13 Mins | Suitability: General
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