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The Independent Critic

Sean Douglas, Damien Gerard
Sam Rookes
Sam Rookes, Harry Smyth (Based upon short story "Two Brothers" by Harry Smyth)

 "Red Rope" a Dark, Thought-Provoking Film 
A dark and revealing short film based upon a short story called "Two Brothers" by co-writer Harry Smyth, Red Rope is a rather intense eight-minute cinematic experience involving two estranged brothers (Damien Gerard and Sean Douglas) who unite to sort through their recently deceased mother's belongings. When they discover an urn containing their grandfather's ashes, long dormant memories are brought vividly to life.

Red Rope feels very much like a slice of a bigger story, an intense and revelatory film that satisfies largely upon the strength of its co-leads, Damien Gerard and Sean Douglas. Filmed largely in stark black-and-white by director Sam Rookes and Chris Orman, Red Rope is an well made film about trauma and the mind's ability, or inability, to distort it and forget it and to be irreparably shaped by it. The film is an intimate film, and for some survivors of trauma I'd dare say it's a bit of a trigger film. Rather than reveal the fullness of the underlying story, Rookes embraces a "less is more" attitude and builds the film around the shards of memory and how they've become reframed over the course of these young mens' lives.

As someone who lives with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I found the film's weaving together of memory and repression intelligently created and insightful while not skimming over the emotional trauma that unfolds when memories are repressed and when memories are recovered. Rookes does an excellent job of blending together the elements of production and wrapping them around two memorable performances.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic