The Docks

In a city of rain, darkness, and despair, one woman's secret is at risk. How will she hide it?

Genre: Crime

Length: 01:17

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4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Matthew D Gilpin,

Director/s : Matthew D Gilpin, 

Writer/s : Matthew D Gilpin, 

Actor/s : Féadha Ní Chaoimhe, Michael Tsoukkas


Mini noir

Director Matt Gilpin’s stated aim is to focus on shorter, more finely crafted pieces, rather than longer ones. He says he’d rather make a clean, powerful two minute film than a messy unfocused feature.

Strength to you elbow Matt, because I’d rather watch one.

The Docks is a well-wrought miniature which takes a mere 15 seconds to tell us it’s an atmospheric film noir, with its strong shadows, dark backgrounds, close-ups on an attractive couple, and lipstick on a glass.

The rest escalates with a flashback to the docks, and the man wanting to use the knowledge of what he saw there to exploit the woman. Another 45 seconds, and yet it doesn’t feel at all hurried. The denouement is stiletto sharp. And we’re done.

It’s about as good as a 63 second film (not counting credits) could be. It’s surely a contender for the Depict festival of sub 90-second films. I’ve seen work that does less in ten times the length.

You can’t help wanting Matt to get a bit more ambitious, and apply his writing and directing talent to something more substantial, to take on the challenge of character-building, of narrative arc, of controlling a slower build-up of tension. Be bold! Don’t rely on the relatively easy fallback of expressionistic, noir-y moods, however well you can do them.

Because this is almost too good. It’s like a teaspoonful of a tasty hors d’oeuvre served to a starving person who knows there’s no real meal on offer.

That said, if you don’t want to tickle your tastebuds with this, you’re a very picky short film fan.

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