Short Film: Life's Nuances in 'Post Party' and 'Not Normal'
Review: Post Party: Most people learn the hard way that headaches and nausea aren’t the worst effect of drinking. It’s regret. You go out to a bar, a party, any adult function where alcohol and small talk take up most of the menu. The next morning there are the few seconds of peace. The few seconds where you don’t know where you are or what happened the night before. It’s only when those few seconds pass that the feeling of peace turns into a twisted knot in your stomach. By the time we reach our twenties, however, we are used to this routine. What helps you get through it all is when you break down everything that happened the night before with your friends the next morning. That’s the concept represented in Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer’s short film, "Post-Party."
"Post-Party" is a follow-up film to Chan and Rhymer’s original, "Pre Game." The sequel follows a group of friends as they wake up from a night of hook-ups, drinking and questionable decisions at their friend's wedding. Impressively filmed in one take, Post-Party follows the group of friends around as they wake up and prepare to depart from an Airbnb. The film’s Director of Photography, Guy Godfree, uses only one take to organically capture all the different dynamics and state of minds that each of the friends are feeling as they arise.
It starts off following the “mother of the group,” fully dressed and made up, holding a box of doughnuts for everyone. Her togetherness and fast pace clearly contrast what’s going on with the rest of her friends. As the shot continues around the house, the film features an authentic look into the aftermath of the wedding, choreographed to perfection. The guy who scored and the guy who didn’t. The girl too hungover to deal with her hook-up and the guys who are too hungover to barely open their eyes. Throughout the ten-minute duration, disappointment, gossip and friendship thematically shape the film, concluded when the married couple arrives to bring everyone together for a big, family breakfast around the table.
Chan and Rhymer’s decision to use only one shot is absolutely the most engaging component of the film. The one shot allows the viewer to grasp all of the nuances that are occurring in this house of hungover friends. The film doesn’t follow one or a few characters, but everyone, as they naturally dissect the events that transpired from the night before. The decision to have subtle jazz music play in the background of the entire film hurts the authenticity of what was portrayed. It didn’t fit the tone of what was shown and the film would’ve been better off with no background sound. Regardless, to shoot any story in only one take is an impressive feat and worth taking a look at, especially when considering the story told is all too relatable.
Review: Not Normal: When people think of Grand Theft Auto (GTA), they think of a fast-pace, action video game filled with car racing and violence. While that assessment isn’t necessarily inaccurate, GTA has become much more than that. Every GTA game presents a whole new world of stories, and while a lot of people prefer to get past the stories and into the action, the game’s storytelling is artistically profound. Matt MacDonald’s short film, "Not Normal," is a GTA inspired story that forces the viewer to put down the controller and focus on the visual and emotional appeal of GTA’s storytelling ability.
“People thinking this world’s like a video game, with no consequences.” This bit of narration used to open the film epitomizes the message being broadcast. The story follows a vigilante, fed up with society’s continuous obsession with self-interest. The worker who spends his nights drinking his hard day away. The housewife tanning to relinquish the stresses of her rich life. The teenager scrolling through fake news to entertain her day. These examples all portray individuals' habit to focus on themselves and “numb the story around us.” The story comprised of rape and murder on every street corner. The story that he cannot erase from his conscience.
The rest of the film consists of the protagonist going after what he considers, “the privileged and entitled.” The narration indicates how he finds himself obligated to fight against these leeches of society that seem to follow him everywhere he goes. After failing to kill his target stopped at a red light, an action-heavy car chase proceeds, ending with his target shot dead on the ground.
A GTA short film such as this really highlights the stunning VFX features of the franchise. The scenery, car chases and emotional humanity illustrated is truly captivating. Furthermore, the themes of self-absorption, vigilantism and anarchy are beautifully delineated. Storytelling is all around us, even in our video games. This GTA inspired short is a microcosm for how some people see the world while the majority turns the cold shoulder towards corruption. While the man does take an extreme approach to a solution, he forces us to put down the controller and open our eyes to a hard truth of reality.
Check out more of MacDonald's work here.