Untied (2017): Not Your Typical Student Film
In what seems to be a developing tradition here on MovieBabble, here’s another spotlight on a short film created by aspiring filmmakers. The film, distributed by ID Production Studios, is entitled “Untied.” As with my review of another short film, The Story of 90 Coins (you can read my full review by clicking here), I paid special attention to see if those involved in making the film have a chance for growth within the industry. The following review will be spoiler free.
Untied is directed by Hassann Abdus Saboor and contains a limited cast led by actresses Amia Fatele and Abi Carter. The film follows the relationship of two girls throughout their earlier years, starting as children then fast-forwarding to when they are both young adults. As our two lead characters begin to grow up, they lose sight of the bond they had as children. However, like in many other instances in life, it’s a small, mutually-owned object that reminds the two of the relationship they once had.
I first heard about this project from the assistant director and producer of the film, Isaac Davis, head of ID Production Studios. In our discussion of the creation and production of Untied, there was a noticeable amount of enthusiasm coming from him as he discussed the project. As a film reviewer, it’s always nice to see such excitement from the creative team because it signals that they put in their best effort to make the film resonant to viewers.
Untied is a special case as it comes from first time filmmakers, a fact that could make a lot of possible viewers apprehensive about what might be in store for them. Film is a field of constant improvement, with famed directors such as Martin Scorsese waiting years to complete projects because they feel as if they are not capable at a certain point in time to create a worthy film. Filled with curiosity, I was looking forward to see if the creative team’s ambitions could translate to a solid film on screen.
What I Liked
After sitting through Untied’s approximate run time of fourteen minutes, I’m happy to say that the skill involved with the film far exceeds any type of experience that the creative team has.
The first thing that strikes you when watching Untied is the atmosphere it creates. I saw a lot of similarities to 2016’s Best Picture winner Moonlight in this short film as the score in combination with jumps through time conjures the feelings created by the Oscar-winning feature. The use of a more gray-scale camera lens subconsciously prepares the viewer for a grounded, dramatized story as the color palette evokes a more melancholy feel. Untied definitely feels closer to a large studio production than a small, independent project which will immediately garner more appreciation from those who watch the film.
What I Liked…Continued
Another very noticeable trait that Untied contains is that there is absolutely zero dialogue throughout the short film’s run time. This reality may be a turn-off to those who enjoy being spoon fed a film’s story arc and themes, but those behind the camera accomplish this feat with such grace and precision that it improves the film greatly. The entirety of the short film is set up to tell its heartfelt story through visual storytelling, which, in this case, is accomplished through certain images (such as one of our lead actresses walking through the woods, staring off into the distance, etc.) that are meant to capture a distinct emotion. Any type of dialogue that may have been utilized would have come off as disjunctive, so I applaud Hassann Abdus Saboor and the rest of the team for showing the restraint that Untied’s story required.
In the same vein, our lead actresses, Amia Fatele and Abi Carter, deserve a lot of credit for being able to express their thoughts and emotions solely through their facial expressions. Being able to convey one’s character through one’s presence alone can be a difficult action to accomplish for a performer. By the way these two friends look at each other and the world, you understand their every movement and reaction, a characteristic that is very impressive for young, aspiring actresses.
What I Didn’t Like
What few flaws Untied has are from a technical perspective. Some of the camera movements become a little distracting at times as it unnecessarily bobs up and down which keeps the viewer from being able to lock in on the visuals on screen. You may also notice that the camera occasionally struggles with keeping the frame in focus as well. However, these issues are relatively minor and the filmmakers will only improve as they become exposed to better equipment and more resources down the line.
The film is much more concerned with displaying a thoughtful story, which it accomplishes exceedingly well. Untied offers a thought-provoking, subtle look into adolescent relationships and has more heart than most feature length films released these days. The relationship between our two leads is established in merely a few moments, but that’s all the film needs to setup the emotional punch the story requires.
In the end, Untied is a surprisingly subtle look at friendship and the trials it may undergo. I fully expect this film to be a launching point for everyone involved. Untied gets an A. Be sure to watch the film at the top of this review! In order to stay up to date on the creative team and the success of the film, here are some links to view:
-ID Production Studios website: http://www.idproductionstudios.com/
-Untied’s IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4656436/
-ID Production Studios’ GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/untied-film-fund
Thanks for reading! Are you interested in seeing Untied? Be sure to comment down below to make your thoughts heard!
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