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By midlandsmovies, Jan 5 2020 05:03PM

Midlands Review - Reminiscence

Directed by Tomek Zontek


Cinectar Studios

Three young friends leave college and enjoy the beginnings of Summer as we open on new Midlands film Reminiscence from Tomek Zontek.

After discussing their respective end-of-year concerts, the trio - Liane, Nigel and Chris - celebrate by playing alcoholic drinking game “red or black”. Unfortunately Nigel gets frustrated and after Lianne leaves, he explains his feelings for her to Chris (Sam Forrest) in his now drunken state.

With more flavour than your average short film, Nigel (played excellently by Josh Radcliffe) and Liane (Alice Orlik) then chat about jazz music and pentatonic scales as they walk the library and the short draws you quickly into their world of academia and musical passions.

A gentle piano score contrasts nicely against the darker elements that lurk under the surface of the film as Nigel torments Lianne in a scene brooding with an undercurrent of obsession.

The filmmaker’s attention on music – both in its creation and as a basis for sound-tracking life – is clear on screen. From mixing desks to recording studios the film wears its aural influences on its sleeve and keeps the narrative at a high tempo.

As we progress though, the friendship fractures as Nigel witnesses his two friends happily dancing and he responds by angrily walking away. Faking illness and then discreetly following the pair in public, he becomes scarily preoccupied with his friends’ intentions.

With an interesting concept and a dash of Whiplash (2014) for added measure, the three leads deliver great performances all round. And as the story unfolds, the harmonious ensemble see their minor hang-ups becoming major problems for them all and are superbly edited into the film.

Thoroughly enjoyable, the short focuses of self-serving egoism as one of its central themes as Nigel eventually takes to the stage in a “memorable” solo. The threesome’s crumbling relationship creates drama and the constant presence of a music is a recurring motif I thought worked extremely well.

Sharp and well-written, Reminiscence comes highly recommended as it builds to a dramatic crescendo. And director Tomek Zontek should be applauded for conducting his short with great skill and intensity leaving the audience with much to think about at its downbeat conclusion.

Michael Sales

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