Saturday, October 29, 2016

Short Film Spotlight: BORROWED TIME

Welcome back to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT. This week, we take a look at a film that has set the independent and animated short community abuzz over the past couple weeks, BORROWED TIME.

Borrowed Time is an animated short written and directed by Andrew Coates and Lou Hamou-Lhadj who are both animators at Pixar Studios. This film was produced independently of the studio but through Pixar University’s Co-op program. This short film follows a grizzled sheriff in the Old West as he returns to the scene of some accident that appears to have happened many years before. As memories start to flash back we see a tale that is both heartwarming and deeply tragic. This is undoubtedly one of the best short films I’ve seen in a while (probably since a genuine Pixar short, Piper) and it was truly effecting.

The real strength of Borrowed Time is how much emotion is brought out through the animation as this short has very little dialogue. The characters in this are so emotive and the way they carry themselves in an environment that fans of the western know well allows the audience members to import some of their own experience on the film whilst still taking in the challenging story the film is dedicated to telling. This film has the veneer of a film intended for a much younger audience but that veneer quickly and creatively erodes through the storytelling which is the sign of truly great filmmaking.

In terms of animation quality this film is top notch. Everything in this is absolutely meticulous and striking. A tremendous amount of attention is paid to small details that are what end up revealing the story that the film is representing under the surface. The way this film fades in and out of certain points in time and the power of the use of light in representing the emotion of the moment is stellar and makes this film even more effective.

There is very little negative about this short film. The narrative is tight, mature, and emotionally weighty. It comes in, gets its point across, and leaves you with a real sense of wistfulness that a lesser film or one that fails to impact you emotionally couldn’t do. I found myself transfixed by this short as it is truly a work of art and one we can all understand has part of the human experience of memory and regret. Check it out.

Ryan's Score: 9.5/10

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