Feature Review - Girl A
By midlandsmovies, Feb 16 2017 07:14PM
Girl A (2017)
Dir. Jess O Brien
Girl A is a new hard hitting drama short from young director Jess O’Brien. Opening with a scene of bullying and the accompanying dressing down by a teacher at school, we track the female perpetrator back home where she sits in isolation.
From staring at the TV to staring out of rain-soaked windows, the unnamed girl is deep in contemplation as we begin to overhear arguments, struggles and possible violence outside of her bedroom in her parental home.
As the protagonist stares at a cracked pot symbolic of a broken family relationship, she sits solitarily in her house as well as at school, being the perpetual outsider wherever she is.
Using tracking shots from behind the character, the filmmaker allows us to follow her journey as she walks like an invisible ghost through corridors and past people who ignore her. With a flash of violence her frustrations spill over back at school and the film ends on an ambiguous note of reflection.
Tackling complex issues, the film sets out to give some context behind the behaviour of others but stops short of casting judgment, although the film therefore lacks some conviction on the subject of the consequences of violence. Both at home or in school, the short omits the sensitive issue of personal responsibility as people move from child to adult or adult to parent but still has much to say about the subject.
The film is cleverly shot in muted colours and brilliantly uses sound – and sometimes a lack of sound – to bring the audience into a world of silence and language, whether it is a teacher’s strict words or an explosive family slanging match.
The drab washed out grey colour palette represents a life of heartbreaking gloom and attempts to show how a miserable family life for a child during an important phase in their upbringing can be devastating.
Without providing any answers or any defence, this powerful slice-of-life short simply shows an unstable situation and asks the audience to think about the difficulties that subsequently arise. And that’s hugely to Girl A’s credit, as it may just be the best way to get people thinking about them.
Midlands Movies Mike