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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Peek Under the Covers of Entertainers In "A Mime Is A Terrible Thing To Waste" Short Film

"A MIME IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE" (2014)
Genre: Suspense / Fantasy
Length- 19:11
Company:  Blackmount Pictures

* While this short film does not contain nudity, there are scenes of a frank sexual nature that are inappropriate for younger viewers.  This film would probably be rated "R" if it were submitted to the MPAA for a film rating.

A mime (Michael Batten) and his puppet (Bhasker Patel) check into a motel for the evening and set about the long process of unwinding before getting some much needed shuteye.  Before they get too far, their room phone rings.

It's someone close to them, with a message regarding a matter of life or death . . .

SOMETHING YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE

There aren't very many short films that appear in my inbox that feature mimes and puppets and the sorts of hijinx one can only imagine you'd get if you were to mix the two, let alone the sort of movie that treats all of this as a pretty serious endeavor.  While the title of the film's a pun, the film itself is deadly serious.

Essentially, the story revolves around the relationship of the mime and his puppet -- or is it the other way around? -- and a mysterious third character we neither hear or see, and his incredible influence over the two of them.

THE END RESULT

The big question mark that we, as viewers, are tempted with over the course of this film is whether what we are seeing is fantasy or reality.  I tend toward the former, mostly because it's too hard to try to make sense of what's going on if you attempt to explain away what's seen as an emotional disturbance.  It does add an interesting dimension to the film, and provides a little "food for thought" in what might otherwise have been a fairly routine plot.

Thematically, Pia Cook's screenplay attempts to deal with the heavy issue of true love, and it does tease us a little, but the strangeness of the film takes center stage.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you -- you really haven't seen a short film quite like this before, and there's something to be celebrated about that.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2.5 / 5.  Cook's screenplay has several great lines, an intriguing storyline, but ultimately none of it is put together in a manner that feels as climactic as it wants to be.
Directing: 3 / 5.  Hernan Diaz directed this short.  It looks good and works well.  I particularly enjoyed the slick manipulation of the viewer when switching from the actual puppet to Patel and back.  Also some nice usage of lighting and appealing visuals from director of photography Kirill Proskura.  
Editing: 3 / 5.  The opening feels excessively long for an introductory sequence.  Several scenes drag on a bit longer than they need to.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  There were some mishaps with the sound design -- for instance, was the receptionist (Bernie Barrett) pleasuring herself or was she watching porn or was I just completely misreading that?  Volume levels changed or cut out entirely from shot to shot.  The music, composed by Stefano Barzaghi, was suitably creepy.  
Acting: 4 / 5.  Good performances from everyone, particularly from Patel, who delivered his sometimes outlandish lines quite credibly.

Final Grade: 3.1.

While "A Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste" isn't yet available to watch online, you can visit the creators online right here until it is!



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!