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The Independent Critic

Alison Harris, Ellie Thorpe
James and Thomas Pickering
James Pickering

 "No Witnesses" Review 
The first short film from U.K. based Big Picktures, No Witnesses is a micro-budgeted crime thriller featuring Alison Harris and Ellie Thorpe as two young women who turn up at a house intent on robbing it of a certain item only to discover two more thieves and a couple of already dead residents.

The film is written by James Pickering and co-directed by James along with his brother, Thomas Pickering. Launched simultaneously on both Youtube and Vimeo, the film runs just over seven minutes but is paced well and features a rather rapid fire and entertaining exchange between our would-be thieves. While there's almost no denying that the film is hindered by its lack of a production budget, the Pickering brothers have chosen their project wisely and make the most out of having a solid story line and two talented young actresses.

The Pickering brothers seem quite realistic about the challenges of shooting even a short film on "no budget," but wanted to find out for themselves if a quality film could depend more upon the talent of its cast and crew rather than the size of its budget. The final result is, as one might expect, hit-and-miss and there's no doubt that your more casual moviegoer would likely struggle with the film's consistent sound mix balance issues. Yet, for those who've experienced the infancy of an indie filmmaker's career, there's also much to admire here.

In addition to James Pickering's quality script, both he and his brother have an obvious visual eye and a clear sense of the crime thriller genre. While I'm not quite willing to say they transcended their budgetary constraints, I am willing to say they've put together a solid effort here in their first production and I look forward to seeing what these two brothers offer in the future.

For more information, be sure to visit the Big Picktures website listed in the credits to the left of this review.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic