Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Kallum Trueman, Leo Halstead, and Jack Hartley
Aaron Dunleavy
12 Mins.

 "The Truants" a Gritty, Involving Short Film 
Add to favorites

In Aaron Dunleavy's gripping short film The Truants, Kallum Trueman and Leo Halstead portray two teenagers who escape from their school and set off on an adventure through the industrial landscape that serves as their homestead and training ground. 

Dunleavy's approach to this 12-minute short film is relentless, an honest and unflinching portrayal of two young men we would still call "children" yet who have clearly already developed into their destined path of truancy and violence. It's a rather bold and brave approach to filmmaking, an approach brought vividly to life by the natural, uncompromising performances served up by Kallum Trueman and Leo Halstead. 

The emotional depth in the film comes from Jack Hartley's devastatingly spot-on performance as a young man, older than the boys yet clearly a man with an intellectual disability, who encounters the young boys and falls victim to their impulsive behaviors and darkly whimsical way of treating life. There's a quiet brutality to the film is emotionally devastating and visually disturbing.

In other words, it's harsh yet effective filmmaking. 

The industrial landscape where the action takes place gives the aura of a realistic urban wasteland, a place where life is harsh and the people are harsher. You might quickly think that you're simply getting a film about two boys off on a misadventure, but over the course of the film's twelve-minute running time it becomes clear that Dunleavy is aiming much, much higher. 

The film has already proven to be quite successful on the film festival circuit throughout Europe including the BAFTA qualifying London Short Film Festival. The film's lensing, by Christopher Spurdens and Sam Travis, is vivid and desperate while Tuesday Dalby's production design creates just the right environment for the story to unfold with tremendous authenticity.

The Truants is continuing on its film festival circuit. If you get a chance, definitely check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic