I posted a little about Odessa a few weeks ago, but now I’m back to review the short film. There’s a lot to know about this movie, but I’m not going to give too much away, as I feel you really need to see it and take it in for yourselves. Here’s a little about the story to get you going:
“In the wake of a global economic collapse and social chaos, Texas secedes from the United States and a stark new border dynamic is born. Now, a desperate mother is forced to brave hostile territory to save her child’s life.“
A short, but gripping summary, this movie definitely holds up to be a fascinating short. Odessa won the Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Gasparilla International Film Festival and for good reason, too.
Directed by Sean Michael Turrell
Written by Doug Johnson
Produced by Grace Santos, David Moscow, Andrew Shebay, Doug Johnson
Co-Produced by Marisa Mojica & Lorena Mojica
Associate Producer: Patricia Chica
Starring Ricky Wayne, Grace Santos, Will Haze, Anthony Escobar
So, I’ll here post my review!
Starting out, I’d like to personally put in a small credit to the cinematographer that worked evidently very hard on Odessa with the rest of the crew, Stephen Chung.
Straight away in the film, we get this very tense, fast paced scene that forces us into wondering what could be going on. The cinematography is already incredible, and there are some really amazing shots throughout. What I really liked, was that as soon as it started, I felt instantly hooked. It was straight into a tense action and I already wanted to know more. Some of the film is quite mysterious but leads you in as you begin to unveil the mystery, letting the viewer know what’s going on and what the characters are going through.
With the help of the clever direction and cinematography, you feel as if you want to explore this new world that they’ve created before you.
The acting is really well played out, where there’s not much speech to begin with – the body language, facial expression work and atmosphere is incredible. Two very talented main actors take the lead and set the tone for one of the best short films I’ve seen in a while, both Ricky Wayne and Grace Santos work well together and are two fascinating actors to watch. The dialogue is very well written, and serve the characters well. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding each character and where they’re going, due to the short timing of the film, but it really pushes us to want to know more about them and their stories. This is most definitely the case for the lead female, Estrella (Grace Santos) who did a brilliant job in her role. When we find out more about her, it’s heartbreaking, emotional and we really think about ‘what would you do in that situation.’
The supporting actors do a great job here, also. The ‘border patrol’ characters easily come across as the kind of people you wouldn’t want to mess with in that situation, and they’re very dominating even though not on screen for very long. Each cast member fits their role very well, despite there not being very much dialogue, their actions and on screen presence spoke louder than words.
The little gore there is is well done, not over the top and actually very quickly over. Which is definitely good for those who don’t deal well with gore or blood. Actually, much gory effects and over the top moments are not necessary at all here, as I feel it’s mostly about progressing a story and exploring the mystery of what the main character needs. Her journey is an action filled yet ultimately successful one, and we really start to understand what she must be going through.
Any tense scenes are accompanied by fast paced, louder music and make you feel even more uncomfortable considering circumstances that the characters are facing. The emotions are catered to within this movie, using the music and cinematography to highlight how the characters are feeling in that particular moment, which is a great talent that the makers have.
I personally enjoyed the music that accompanied the movie, especially some of the tracks you can hear on the film’s website. They really fit the theme of the movie well, and are great songs in themselves. I’d recommend having a listen to them on the site when you can.
I really enjoyed Odessa, and I’m sure you will too! So please do continue to support the movie until its release, and check it out when you can! I’d love to know what you think! I’d give Odessa 5 skulls out of 5 (☠☠☠☠☠) for creativity, an incredible new cinematic world and some lovely visuals.
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