Blood Ties is a impressively shot film as you can see from the very opening. It does a great job at capturing the look and feel of a film noir with the lighting, camera, and set design. Unfortunately that’s where the quality stops. The characters are forced and boring, while the narrative is weak and too long at 15 minutes.
The cinematography and music of I’m Sorry immediately grabs you. It clearly establishes the unique feeling of the film. There’s no dialogue or plot to the film, yet it’ll have your complete attention the whole way through. By the time it’s finish you’ll wonder why you haven’t seen anything like this before.
Killing Time opens with a man emerging from the shadows, wearing the standard trench coat and fedora we’ve come to expect. You’ll immediately get the “seen this one before” attitude, which you’ll drop just as quickly as you picked it up. The first striking thing about Killing Time is the cinemetography. It doens’t look like the work of an amatuer playing around with the camera for the first time. You get the feeling that this director has either a bit of experience under their belt, or just natural talent. The camera is beautifully set up as the actor walks across the room to check out the window and have a seat. Notice how he sinks into the bottom left corner of the screen when he sits. He’s not close to the center of the frame, and delibteraly so. Speaking of the room, it isn’t just a convient place choosen to be shot in. It’s apparent that the decor has been changed to suit this genre and more specificlly this story. Look no futher than the Jack Daniels poster hanging on the wall for proof.
The editing is the next impressive thing you notice. After our character sits you get a shot of his face, then the front door that he’s looking at. Another shot of his face follows but this time the Jack Daniels poster is in the same frame. Our character takes a look at it as if he’s seeing it for the first time, and decides to look in the kitchen for a bottle. This lets us know without any dialogue that the character is not inside of his own home. It’s Hitchcockian the way we’re given the perspective of the character, reminesence of Rear Window.
Speaking of Hitchcock and dialogue, unlike most film noir, this one has no narration. We don’t know exactly how our character got there or why, we have to wait till the end to see. Also there’s no score, which means we’re not in any way lifted from the scene. We as the audience wait in near silence, as if we’re in the very room with the character. This combination tightly builds the tension and suspense. The director doens’t just leave it there though, he adds to it even more. Notice what happens when the character pulls out a cigarette to lite.
If you can’t tell already, Killing Time is a technical masterpiece as far as micro budget short films go. Hard to believe it’s all cramed into two and a half minutes.