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Friday, January 9, 2015

Two Lovers, One Life & What Might Come: Craig Maclachlan's "Reflections" & Painful Life

"REFLECTIONS" (2015)
Genre: Drama
Length- 15:57
Company: Maclachlan 84 Productions
Website: Official Facebook

Live-in couple Rachel (Kerry Browne) and Sam (Craig Anthony-Ralston) move into their new house, but they can't leave behind what happened five years ago.

LIFE CAN BE PAINFUL

“Reflections” is the latest film from Machlachlan 84 Productions and Craig Maclachlan, whose previous work we've reviewed here (“Glory Hunter”).   This short, produced by star and writer Kerry Browne and director Craig Maclachlan, takes on some seriously weighty issues and tries to resolve them in just under sixteen minutes.

The story is told entirely in dialogue which, despite sounding realistic and authentic, does weigh down the film.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: film is a visual medium first and foremost.  The most successful films marry good writing with imagery that captures the imagination or is at least interesting to the eye.

Now then – the acting in this film courtesy of Browne and Anthony-Ralston is top notch.  Both characters come across as individuals, contradictory at times and genuine.  Their performances make the running time of “Reflections” fly by and brought me into the lives of the characters.

This is the best film yet from Craig Maclachlan, a real bright spot for his expanding resume.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3.5 / 5.  The film is literally 100% dialogue – the setting is extremely underused and there are no real focal set pieces for Maclachlan to play with.  Still, the authenticity of the characters and their spot on dialogue created a reality for me to enjoy for sixteen minutes, and that's an important accomplishment.
Directing: 3 / 5.  Maclachlan did the best he could with a visually limiting script and less than inspiring locations, but he's stuck with just watching the characters interact.  I did enjoy the motion of the stairway sequence, and the opening usage of still frames was inspired.
Editing: 3 / 5.  Editor and colorist Herald Francis kept the shots moving from start to finish, and no individual shot lingered or felt wrong.  The choice to go black and white, or at least extremely desaturated, is an interesting one, and its effect on viewers I suspect will be somewhat polarizing, but I enjoyed it.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  I enjoyed Paul Wilkie's subdued piano score, but there's so much time without music, where it's just dialogue, that the pop song at the end seems overly loud and out of place.
Acting: 5 / 5.  It's rare that I watch a short film and there's not one line where I could see another actor doing better.  No professional actor or actress could have delivered better than Browne and Anthony-Ralston did in “Reflections”.  They both put in beautiful performances that absolutely make this film work.

Final Grade: 3.5 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Reflections" and follow Craig Maclachlan and Maclachlan 84 Productions on Facebook!







Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!