Yesterday I was offered the opportunity to review a newly released, independent, short film. As I watched a run-through to see if I would be interested, it quickly became clear that this was not just a film but a work of art. Yes, I wanted to review it. My concern was that I should do such a creation justice.
‘The Silent Waiting Room’ was conceived, written and directed by Jack Ralls, who was also largely responsible for the editing. This talented young actor has appeared alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC’s crime drama, ‘Sherlock’. He has also been a knight in ‘Merlin’ and has had roles in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Casualty’.
In this short film he plays Jerry, one of four friends living out their afterlife through silent movies which allow them to to re live their golden years as actors. Jerry, however is drawn to his wife, Grace, still in the living world, thus breaking the facade of the romantic play in which they try to continue.
The film is presented in black and white with an accompanying, hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. It makes use of techniques from the hey day of silent films, with clever use of light, shadow, flickering celluloid and stills, artfully employed to evoke the appropriate atmosphere and emotion.
A chase scene makes use of classic, humorous techniques, with protagonists running through a variety of settings including fields, parks, streets, and steps; going unseen when a back is turned, hiding an implausible number of people in a basket. The locations, which are all in and around Bristol, are cleverly juxtaposed to facilitate flow and variety, with characters moving too and fro seamlessly.
In such a short space of time the film offers menace, threat, humour and pathos. The most moving scenes are when those in the afterlife visit the still living, their now elderly partners who are still to join them. The juddering, merging of black and white with colour works perfectly, treasured photographs explaining who is who.
Although I guess I could see it coming, the denouement still had me in tears, not something that I succumb to easily. What a lovely thought that the frail and elderly may return to their prime and join those they love, that death is another beginning.
The whole idea behind this film appealed, that there is an afterlife where we may meet up with friends and loved ones to have some fun. In this life we are well aware of the feelings of loss that a death produces, it was interesting to consider that those who go before us may also feel bereft until we join them.
Jack Ralls was obviously key in the making of this film, but there were many others who provided the talent required to bring this project to life. None of the actors, artists, musicians or supporting crew should be overlooked. When a work that is so aesthetically pleasing is brought to my attention I realise how much I take for granted when being entertained. Art such as this deserves wider recognition and appreciation.
Have I piqued your interest? If so then get yourself a cup or glass of your favourite beverage, settle yourself on a comfy chair, and indulge in fifteen minutes of pleasure. This sublime film should be seen and shared, enjoy.