Short Film Review – OVER (2015)

★★★★★

Directed by Jörn Threlfall.

Length: 14′

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SYNOPSIS: OVER presents a crime scene. During the course of 9 wide shots told in reverse order, we witness an intriguing story unfold. What has happened in this quiet neighborhood? A murder, a hit-and-run, an accident? The reality is profound, and deeply unexpected.

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Set in a quiet neighbourhood in West London, OVER tells the story of a road and its inhabitants in the wake of the disturbing discovery of the body of a man in the middle of the road. How did he get there? Who or what took his life? What does this mean for the people of this quiet London road, their families, or the city at large? Through the powerful medium of the short film, Threlfall explores a present social issue deftly.

What’s brilliant is that it’s told backwards, in an unassuming tone, simply taking us back through the hours of the day and watching for a few minutes at a time. The reverse order works exquisitely to convey a sense of mystery, while the wide shots keep us at a safe distance from the spot and make us crane our necks to see what’s happening. We are made to feel like onlookers, neighbours who stood on the side of the road and watched the goings on as police came and went, as the body is found, examined, taken away–but not in that order, of course, and for a great reason.

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To even begin to veer into spoiler territory with a 14 minute film is probably unexpected, but that’s exactly what’s happening here, and so I can’t really say what the good reason is. But it’s good–the kind of good that physically shakes you and stays with you for a while, makes you uneasy at having sought the truth, and makes you think intensely about what events transpired before the film’s time-frame. Londoners and Brits, and probably a few international headline fiends, will begin to remember the events that inspired OVER as the film, progressing backwards, comes closer and closer to revealing the harsh and shocking truth.

OVER has garnered a number of awards already at several international film festivals around the world, and with very good reason. The timeliness of the subject matter cannot be overstated, and neither can the masterful narrative structure, which is in some ways reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s MEMENTO, perhaps the most well-known inverse timeline in recent cinematic history. Director Jörn Threlfall has been named one of Screen International’s 2015 Stars of Tomorrow, which is more than deserving; it can safely be said that we can expect great things from him.

You can watch the trailer for OVER here.

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