Grieving parents Ben & Carol mourn their missing daughter. Whilst Carol tries to move on, Ben takes extreme measures to relive their daughters' fondest memories. But what is he up to?
Since winning the Oscar for best live action short back in 2018 for The Silent Child, Chris Overton has overseen the explosive growth of his company Slick Films, providing video production services as well as enabling the short films of a multitude of creators. Other than 2021’s Leader, however, this is the first time Overton has returned to the helm of a short film since taking home one of film’s top honours.
Anyone wondering whether or not he would be able to follow up the barnstorming success of The Silent Child with a film of equal calibre need wonder no longer. Overton, working from a script by writer/producer James Spillman turns in a short film that delivers the weight of insurmountable grief as well as a slow burn mystery with a gut punch of a climax.
The film’s opening contains an unbroken 1-minute shot that provides, not only the film’s premise but also a signpost to its conclusion. This kind of visual storytelling is present throughout the film, demanding that the audience remains glued to the screen, taking in every story beat and vital clue. Being hooked by the mysterious elements of the film, we are unable to look away from the genuine pain and despair, encapsulated so perfectly in the performances of its two leads, Stephen Wight as Ben, a bereaved father and his estranged wife Carol, played by Rachel Shenton (collaborating once again with husband and co-Academy Award winner Chris Overton).
The meat of the story shows the two grieving parents handling their loss in very different ways. While Carol attends counselling and confronts her feelings, Ben remains secluded, ignoring Carol’s attempts to reach out and shutting himself off from anyone from his life before this tragedy.
Reteaming with The Silent Child cinematographer Ali Farahani, the film brilliantly summarises key character beats with simple yet masterfully crafted visuals, pulling us into moments of isolation, fear, desperation and delusion. Overton and Farahani know when to pull out the colour, when to dominate the image with stark whites and how to bathe a scene in shadow, while drawing our attention to precisely what we need to see.
The craft on show is incredibly impressive and opens the door to a character-focused, mood-driven and tonally powerful short film experience. This is a film that has a unique blend of heart, depth, darkness and intrigue, bolstered by two raw and courageous performances and a script that not only dives into the darkest of sadly common human experiences, but also asks uncomfortable questions about our future.
Chris Overton and the team at Slick Films have once again demonstrated the degree to which they are at the top of their game. In Too Deep is a great demonstration of short film and its role in cinema and more than worthy of a place on your watchlist.
Studio: Slick Films | Year: 2023 | Genre: Drama | Duration: 17 Mins | Suitability: Mature
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