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Midlands Review - When Voices Unite

By midlandsmovies, Dec 12 2017 04:03PM

When Voices Unite (2017) Dir. Lewis Coates

Written and directed by Lewis Coates, When Voices Unite is an uneasy study on the powers of the internet and social media as we follow a protestor film a live video feed whilst investigating a suspicious building.

The film opens with our protagonist Jess (Lara Goodson) in her car preparing herself to enter a dilapidated building she believes is active and carrying unknown secrets the public need to know. She is talking to her followers via a live video feed, updating them of the current situation and explaining why she sees this exercise as a worthy cause.

“Global monitoring” and “Government access to our lives online” are the reasons behind Jess’s interest in exposing confidential government secrets. And it is this current issue that not only interests me but scores of others as we continually live in a growing online world. It’s exciting to see a local short film like When Voices Unite focus on important themes such as these, even more so because Coates isn’t heavy handed in his approach and makes sure the story of Jess reaching the building remains at the forefront.

When watching this short I was reminded of a similar independent film, The Blair Witch Project, as both films have a strong, tough and passionate female at the core of them. Here though, the Jess and Heather characters are risking their lives to get the perfect shot for their documentaries.

As the lone character Jess, Lara Goodson who portrays her, carries the film in great stride, never putting a foot wrong. She is accompanied only by a chat log seen at the bottom of the screen, the viewers of her feed giving her support and direction. An interesting effect by Coates to have the viewer one step ahead of the films protagonist as they can see all around her, knowing what’s coming before Jess does.

Supported using public money from Arts Council England, this is a good example of what should be funded. Lewis Coates has made a thrilling, topical short film with something important to say.

Guy Russell


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