Oren Shai — director of the short film “Heavy Souls” — is back with a new dramatic short film called “Condemned.”
Watch the following 14-minute short and then we will discuss it.
Now that you have seen “Condemned,” what do you think of it? I believe the emotional undertones in the performances were well played. Prisoner #1031 (Margaret Anne Florence) is subtle and delicate as she narrates the story. With no back-story, we don’t know much about why she is in prison, but we do know that she says she was set up into telling the warden and has now been branded a “rat.” Sleep-deprived and fearful for her life, she is on edge and looking to survive. She reminded me a lot of an older Kristen Stewart, in the way she looks and her mannerisms.
Despite being a short film with a cast of only three women, “Condemned” delivers. Ashlie Atkinson as the night guard plays the part as well as she can in the short time she is actually onscreen. Being strict and indifferent, you get the proper emotions out of her. Prisoner #1059 or Laura (Aprella) comes into the picture and throws poor #1031 off. The motivations behind Laura’s appearance in the cell are never relayed, but we are given hints that she is not what she seems. Looking like a Dallas beauty queen from the ’70s makes it even more eerie that she might be there to kill #1031.
The look and feel of the film is reminiscent of old westerns. And the music, which I loved, made it feel like a little Tarantino film. You are watching the entire time waiting for the secrets to unfold, but right when you feel like the story could open up, director Oren Shai ends the movie — leaving you wanting more. This is a good thing for a short film, to introduce characters that you care about, intrigue you and to keep you guessing. From what I’ve seen of his work so far, Oren Shai has a strong eye for detail and a crisp sense of direction.
So what did you guys make of “Condemned?” Leave a comment and let me know.
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