Stella Velon, Alan Smyth, Todd Karner
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
"The Critic" Continues on Successful Festival Run
Having premiered at the 15th Kinofilm Manchester, writer/director Stella Velon's emotionally involving and thought-provoking short film The Critic continues on what should most assuredly be a successful run through the indie fest circuit.
Starring Velon herself as an up-and-coming actress who falls prey to an ambitious reporter (Alan Smyth) determined to break down her defenses after the relative newcomer tops an experienced vet to claim a "Best Actress" prize, The Critic is nearly instantly engaging and a remarkably poignant story that somehow manages to travel a broad emotional spectrum while delivering a complete story within its modest 15-minute running time.
The heart and soul of the film is unquestionably Velon, who manages to convince as both a confident, award-winning actress and as a young woman with a fragile facade made more vulnerable by the relentless probing of a reporter more concerned with ratings points than ethical coverage. While the reporter's role here is broad, intentionally so it would seem, it's a timely portrayal and not that far from the truth.
I was just recently reading an interview that Will Ferrell conducted with acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix, whose resistance to media coverage is well known and whose every response reveals both his strengths and his vulnerabilities. It was a powerful interview, simultaneously simple yet layered in emotional complexities. The same is true here, Velon's presence appears to be one of strength and confidence only hours after having picked up a major acting prize yet that confidence begins to tatter with each subsequent question as the questions transition from probing to penetrating to badgering to downright bullying. It's powerful, disturbing actually, to watch Velon's entire being shift throughout the interview - her language, her facial expressions, and her body language all revealing every little transition in subject and tone.
Lensing by Akis Konstantakopoulos is top-notch throughout, while Asaf Sagiv's original music is atmospheric and heightened in its drama. Mostly, however, this is Velon's baby and what an amazing baby it is to behold.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic