Monday, 20 February 2012

Briefcase

Certificate: Unrated
Running time: 6 mins
Director: Nate Golon
Starring: Nate Golon, Nadine Heimann, Tobias Mehler, John Zderko
Genre: Thriller, Short, Mystery
Country: USA

It’s late.  You’re at a petrol/gas station depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside on and you come across an unaccompanied briefcase…what do you do?  That’s what is presented to Carter (Golon) and in a shorter period of time than it takes to think through the decision he is plunged into a world of danger, mystery and a pursuit for his life.

Golon’s direction and use of light and of the camera to create a claustrophobic and hostile Los Angeles is great.  The framing of the briefcase in the foreground with the approaching police vehicle through the middle distance is a delicately constructed shot but one that any film fan with a degree of historical understanding will know how sophisticated a shot this is.  Similarly the chase sequences are tight, contained and most importantly clear.  All too often there are moments in high octane sequences of film that are too close, too mingled and unclear.  Even excellent directors have had their moments were their action could have been somewhat clearer but Golon’s understanding of the framing of catch and release chases in cinema in strong and allows the audience to simply soak in the tension.

Golon’s performance is also, surprisingly, extremely strong.  All too often independent writers can’t direct, directors can’t act and actors can’t do either of the other two but his scenes with Nadine Heimann (Sam) are complicated, emotional and most importantly natural.  Likewise Nadine Heimann is excellent, a real find.  She’s got a natural screen presence that can’t be learned or acquired, she simply belongs on screen.

The mystery of Briefcase is also beautifully simple.  Having re-watched it there’s a real sense of Richard Kelly in the film, a sure-fire compliment regardless how problematic Southland Tales was but more than anything it feels, not narratively but atmospherically, like Alfred Hitchcock presents: The Man from the South.  For a short film to be able to capture that level of tension and payoff is marvellous.  Briefcase must be the beginning of a bigger picture, it’s tension, atmosphere and is a damn good old fashioned nod to story telling is wonderful.  Briefcase can be found below for viewing and well worth it.


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