Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Film Short Review - The Puzzle (2008)
The Puzzle is director Davide Melini's short film, who has worked on the set of Dario Argento's film The Third Mother, which combines a tense music score with equally intense camera angles and light effects. The short, which was shot in one day, stars Cachito Noguera and Alessandro Fornari. A mother refuses to give her son money, works with a puzzle, and finds a surprise for her later that night.
The tension is effectively maintained throughout by the sleek camera angles, shooting images such as a fiery range before transitioning to more observational shots. The camerawork remains a delight throughout, and when the real disturbances begin to happen, lighting kicks in for an added touch of suspense with a creepy shot of the house lights going out.
The story plays out much like a Tales from the Crypt episode might - quick, minimal exposition (here prompted by a photograph on a desk), a set-up for the main event, and then a twist in our conceptions. The twist at the end does feel a little bit dated, however, but it doesn't detract from the experiences leading up to it, which have a certain stylistic flair to them that keep the viewer interested.
The end tries a little too hard to clue the audience in to what's happening via a Saw-styled flashback sequence replete with similar music. While it might be helpful in a longer movie, it feels unnecessary in The Puzzle because of its short length, and in this instance seems to be a lack of faith in the viewer to understand what happened without a wrap-up scene.
Overall though, this short is a nice little thriller that best represents Melini's penchant for strong shot choices. You can check out the short above, and view Melini's website here.