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22nd July 2020

The Claustrophobic Family

Stationary is a straightforward premise; you have a man, in a car, with some friends, and they are all chatting and smoking and having a bit of a laugh.

But little nuggets are dropped that tell you all is not as straightforward as it appears. The driver Jimmy, Aaron Thomas Ward (“Eastenders (TV)”, “Lie Low”), has been inside, but has been to university since he got out.

His friend Che, Rebekah Murrell (“Roman Mysteries (TV)”, “Myths (TV)”), is in the back, smoking weed and taunting her younger brother Gino, Xavien Russell (“Top Boy (TV)”, “Justine”).

Jimmy is trying to convince Gino to follow him into university, but Che isn’t having any of it. Regaling him with stories of graduates just making tea and coffee for years on the job. Degrading.

As Gino goes to leave the car, Che hands him a key and tells him she needs him to make a drug run for her. When he’s gone, Jimmy decides to confront Che about using her own brother for this.

As you can imagine, this does not go down that well, but can Jimmy convince Che? Can his stories from the inside make her see what a possible life for Gino could be?

Writer and director Louis Chan (“Pastiche (Short)”) makes the decision to set the entire short film within the confines of Jimmy’s car.

With Che blowing smoke all the time, it gives the already cramped and claustrophobic environment a nervy edge. The looks Jimmy and Che give each other through the rear-view mirror only add to this.

What is clever is that the only time we leave the car, coincides with a change in feeling for one of the characters. It’s a nice touch, the sense of freedom we feel when we’re outside is passed on.

Stationary is a good short film, it’s the directing more than the dialogue that makes it though, the latter could have been a bit more raw and fast paced for me, personally, but it shows a keen eye and a good ear from Chan and I look forward to seeing more work.

Over the course of one afternoon, reunion soon turns intervention when Jimmy confronts Che, his former drug-dealing partner-in-crime.

Louis Chan

Louis Chan

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