Film Reviews Cat

Better Man (2020)

5.5/10

The synopsis of the short film is the following: “After getting a tip from an anonymous woman online, Natalia must confront her boyfriend of seven years while things are further complicated by the long-distance relationship they’re having. Natalia must learn to share her struggles with her brother, Logan, who’s been distant during the quarantine, and Emma, her best friend”.

The dialogue is most of the time unoriginal, cheesy, and the characters are underdeveloped. Moreover, most of the acting is simply not good, or subpar because it isn’t convincing. However there is one exception and that is the protagonist. The actress that portrays Natalia is really spot on in every scene, and it’s a shame that she had to deal with a bad script. What makes this short film still worth a try is the directing and the use of light. Certain shots are simply mesmerizing, and the use of music is also great. But then again there seems to be minor audio issues in certain scenes in which one of the actors produces unprofessional sound (ten percent of dialogue is difficult to hear within two given scenes). 

You can also make the claim that it’s a student film and that it’s all about the plot and that I should not be so critical about all the other aspects. However, the plot is also very slow and only really starts around half way into the short film. This means that it is a very slow burn because in total it is only an eighteen minute short. The main plot is based around the concept that Natalia has to learn to share her struggles with her brother, and this part was developed pretty decently. But there could have been a bigger, or more intense gap between the brother (Logan) and sister (Natalia) because now it feels like the entire plot is just a weak accumulation of events. Or rather, a normal brother sister relationship without issues or conflict, and without estrangement. The lack of clarity of the main plot can make it seem like the breakup is the main point of the story, especially when all the conflict and intensity is in that plot structure, and because the majority of your dialogue covers the breakup.

To end on a good note I want to say that the last scene, or rather the post scene (minute 17:42), felt way more natural in dialogue than all of the previous seventeen minutes combined, and I wish the rest of the short film was more like this. I still advise people to watch it because the main protagonist and the director did a good job here.  

Director: Jaig de Guzman 

Writer: Jaig de Guzman 

Producer: Julia Simoes, Antonio Lugo

 Country of Origin: United States Student – London Lift-Off 2020

Cast:

  • Natalia Rojas
    Key Cast
    “Natalia”
  • Jose Meza
    Key Cast
    “Logan”
  • Thomas Perez
    Key Cast
    “Max”

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