The Puzzle (2008) (short) Review

Filmmaker Davide Melini offers his third short film up for consideration, besides YouTube, you can also check it out on IMDB for free.  The ultra short The Puzzle clocks in at under 5 minutes, with an opening credits sequence, but that’s all the time it really needs to make its story known.  The problem with many short films is the inexperienced directors that make them feel they just aren’t long enough, and often add boring scenes filled with ludicrous dialogue or acting that just adds time to the film’s length, not value to the story being told.  Melini, on the other hand, wastes no time jumping straight into the story, and finishing it off quickly with a bang.  Seriously.

The point of short films, for many directors, is to show how they can bring a film together, direct actors, make shot choices, etc.  Melini proves he can competently tell a story that keeps our interest, and most importantly, his direction and use of camera movement is what best shows his style, a frenetic tide that rises until the final slam-bang ending.  My only real complaint with the film would be the sound was slightly muddled, but the sound designer shouldn’t take any offense, it could have been the low quality YouTube streaming that was jamming it up, same as it was the picture.  Still, the cinematography was a bit too bright, with a color temperature that just adds that “soap opera” feel to the look.  Still, everything was lit on set, and while it may have been over-lit, that’s always better than under-lit scenes where you have no clue what’s going on.

The acting by Cachito Noguera and Alessandro Fornari is almost non-existent as mother and son, not because the actors didn’t do anything, but because most of the story is told visually, Noguera really only has one line right at the beginning of the movie.  Nothing down on them, they simply weren’t called upon to do a lot, although both look their parts, so I suppose that helps.  Most shorts rely on their ending to be remembered, and if that’s the case for most people, this will probably be a memorable film.


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