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Curfew: Powerful Minutes of Brilliance

Posted on the 01 March 2013 by Haricharanpudipeddi @pudiharicharan

Movie: Curfew

Director: Shawn Christensen

Cast: Fatima Ptacek, Shawn Christensen and Kim Allen

Rating: ****

I wish this film was longer than it originally was at little over 19 minutes. I understand it’s a short film, and therefore, needs to be short, but it’s so good that you wish it was longer. For those wondering if this film deserves the coveted Oscar title, I’d say hell yes, it definitely deserved. To encompass such powerful message in 19 minutes is a herculean task, but “Curfew” nails it and makes you want to cheer for it. It’s one of those heartwarming films that deserve to be watched over and over again.

Lying in a bath tub, drenched in his own blood flowing from his half-cut wrist, Richie is minutes away from attaining solace in the form of death, when the phone rings. On the other end of the line is his sister Maggie, from who he hasn’t heard in years. Even though Richie is the last person to talk to, Maggie wants him to look over her daughter Sophia for few hours. Richie agrees and what follows forms the rest of the story.

The film gives food for thought. While one of the perspectives of the film is about the worth of life, the other one is about the relationship between Richie and Maggie. In about 19 minutes, how these two different perspectives are addressed via an impressive narrative makes this film really powerful. It succeeds because it doesn’t sound preachy in its presentation but strongly implants a thought in our heads to mull over later. It’s a thought that questions the right to end our own life.

One can’t stop raving the director for having such an apt title for the film. Writer and director Shawn, who has also acted in the film as Richie, weaves a simple story bereft of any criticism. It makes you wonder how someone who has written films such as “Abduction” (bad) and “Enter Nowhere” (decent) could manage to pull off something so subtle yet brilliant. Maybe he was forced to write commercially bad films for big studios to make some quick bucks to in turn make his own shorts.

Shawn and Fatima as the lead pair are lively in the film. Moments between them are a treat to watch, especially one of the scenes in the bowling alley. The conversations between them pave way to insightful dissection. Fatima as Sophia is charming and the ease with she carries her role is unbelievable. Mark my words; she is definitely going to go places.

Shawn writes his characters with lot of detailing. Be it the low life of Richie or the optimistic life of Sophie, the film grasps you every minute. The brief but effective scene between Richie and Maggie is such a revelation in the climax and breathes hope in the film.

“Curfew” is, by far, the best short film I’ve seen. Don’t miss it! 

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