Feature Review - Consent
By midlandsmovies, Aug 6 2017 07:58AM
CONSENT (2017) Dir. Alex Hackett
A seemingly happy couple on a couch drinking tea and chatting away opens this new 11-minute short from Raven Pictures. Directed by Alex Hackett, the film tackles the difficult subject of sexual consent but is done in a way that is powerful yet sensitive to the subject matter.
From the jumping off point, the audience is thrown straight into the aftermath of a liaison as the woman from the intro states to the man she feels she has been raped. His response to try to understand may throw the viewer off guard but the director juxtaposes different shots and dialogue to portray the complexities of the issues.
Actors Catherine Chalk and Matthew Harrison-James bring a humanity to their roles, showing realistic performances as the two people involved in a sensitive discussion.
The focus on a lack of communication is at the forefront and the filmmaker mixes timelines to intercut the lead-up to the situation. These earlier scenes are filmed in a soft blue hue which further distances the short from a stereotypical aggressive standpoint. “Did I scare you?” he asks as she explains that it wasn’t a physical threat but an emotional one.
The expectation of raised voices is disposed in favour of a more mature conversation and it’s to the film’s credit that it takes a responsible tone that uses sensible discourse that can educate as well as be dramatic.
A few technical issues (one of a colour grading jump, a muffled sound edit and the general low quality of the image) didn’t distract from the topics revealed but a few tweaks here and there would have helped the film have a more professional appearance.
That said, Consent could have easily become a preachy short yet its subtlety, along with two strong lead performances, help it become a vivid reflection of the decision-making process. A great final shot into the camera summaries the film’s message and although the director mostly avoids veering towards a sermon, that doesn’t make its moral position any less right. In the end, Consent is a straight-to-the-point local drama that covers weighty themes and is as informative as it is insightful.
Midlands Movies Mike