By midlandsmovies, May 17 2018 06:17AM
Midlands Review – Answer
Directed by Adam Palmer
“I didn’t mean it to end like this”.
Answer is a new Midlands short from filmmaker Adam Palmer which covers a difficult conversation about a young couple’s relationship that lies in tatters.
We begin with a shot of a man who wakes up in bed as the filmmaker dubs over the voice of his ex-girlfriend leaving a message on his answerphone.
The film was made in an afternoon and despite its off-the-cuff origins, the script is well written as our lead rolls out of bed whilst hearing a voice from a girl explaining her decisions to leave him.
Our lonesome lead is played well by Lawrence Walker who gives his almost-silent protagonist a sense of confinement and loneliness with just a few quiet movements and beats.
His introspective performance cuts a solitary figure as we see him undertake a serious of mundane tasks – getting a pet’s dinner ready, buying a frozen meal for one or even simply gripping the kitchen work surface in apparent frustration.
The (somewhat anonynous) voice is provided by Nathalie Codsi who gives an outstanding reading of what could have been just another local heartfelt drama. Her voice is infused with regret, sadness yet determination as she delivers information to her ex.
The audience can feel her pain and one begins to wonder what could have happened to get to this situation. The juxtaposition of this melancholy female voice tinged with hopeful sorrow and a man looking remorseful begins to create a certain sympathy. The voice explains how “rushed” their relationship and that they were “very young”. When it is clarified that they have a child as well, “Charlie”, even more compassion can be felt.
However, the filmmaker cleverly provides this information slowly but surely over the course of the message. Here, the dynamic changes quickly as the voice tells us that the man is not allowed to see his son for a while and we start to question why.
The female partner reveals how she “couldn’t see why you were so controlling” and our attention shifts to a more sinister underlying menace from the past.
Ending in tears she explains the domestic violence she suffered at his hands and her partner breaks down crying with exclamations of how sorry he is.
An impactful film, Answer uses its short runtime to create a fantastic story that uses relatively cheap production to get its powerful message across. This is no bad thing and shows how ingenious storytelling need not be too expensive and can be delivered in a way that’s affordable to local filmmakers on a budget.
Using the subject of domestic violence, which is quite common with local shorts, could have resulted in a stale familiarity but here the director Adam Palmer uses a unique conceit to show how conversation may be the key to salvage these most difficult of situations.
With two strong performances – especially from the mouth of the talented Codsi – Answer ironically provides no answers to the complexity of relationship breakdowns. But despite the dark subject matter leaves the viewer with a tinge of hope as we hear the surprising “ping” of another answerphone message before the story ends.
Midlands Movies Mike