Over is a powerful and mysterious short film that immediately grabs the audience, creating a growing sense of intrigue whilst dealing with highly relevant themes. Opening on a quiet suburban street in the middle of the night, we begin to follow the residents in the process of one seemingly ordinary day. As the events play out in reverse we assume there has been some sort of crime. The mystery begins to unravel and we discover what made this day dramatically different from any other.
Writer/Director Jörn Threlfall treats the audience as observers as we see the events from a distance, framed by wide shots. The audience becomes much more subjective as they feel almost like an outsider. Close up shots are reserved for key story points, creating much more impact as the audience are thrown into the action only to be torn out of it. They are used to reveal important information and details providing clues to the incident. The wide’s, though useful, are held a little too long in places creating a slightly stale shot and losing the suspense. The reverse timeline does appear a little confusing at first, with a small typo regarding the time of day, but becomes clearer as the story progresses. Over is a very visual piece with almost no dialogue or sound. Any dialogue used is mostly inaudible as we remain distant from the source. The lack of music and sound elevates the tension and increases our curiosity. We hear natural sounds like birds and cars driving by inferring to the outside world and its normality, helping to create a mood of isolation.
Although we see a myriad of people who live on the street and the effect the event has on them, they don’t feel like characters as they are not established as such. We know nothing about them; they are extras that help to build the story. This works well as it reinforces the observer trait and it means that what we do learn of the crime has much more impact. The film explores the circumstances of a death, providing hints to the identity of the victim through cutaways of evidence. Any information about the victim is told through the process of investigation as this the only character that matters. The story itself is a compelling one but not fully realised until the pieces come together. The film effectively relies on the mystery as its ‘hook’ and provides a reveal that transcends, making it all worthwhile.
Over is a simple and straightforward story which is given much more impact through the use of its chosen storytelling devices. Though curiosity is the predominant emotion throughout this switches dramatically at the end. Once viewed the audience are left with a wide spectrum of emotions and contemplation. Not only has the puzzle finally been solved, we now understand the importance of such a film. Nominee for a European Academy Award and winner of the Best Narrative Short Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival, we are sure Over will conquered interest and awards in many more festivals around the world.