I’ve actually found this film quite difficult to review, because actually it’s fairly self-explanatory. The protagonist (Andrew) has two workmates over one evening and is showing them his ‘hidden talent’ as a pianist. His wife (Lauren, the antagonist) enters and begins to ridicule him, implying that he’s wasting his time practicing the piano as he’s never going to be a successful pianist. Andrew, understandably, appears irritated by this attitude and therefore shows romantic interest in his female co-worker (Olivia) who offers him words of comfort and assurance in place of his wife’s scorn.
Yes, as I said, fairly self-explanatory… or is it? Upon my first watch, I felt the implied sympathy for Andrew and subsequent resentment towards Lauren, however my second watch gave me another impression. Lauren accuses Andrew of using his talent as a premise to flirt with girls, and, indeed it seems that he and Olivia are flirting, rather unashamedly throughout the short. This leads to a rather uncomfortable, and not to mention abrupt, ending where, following his wife’s wishes, Andrew entertains the room by singing the song he proposed to her with (David Grey’s, Please Forgive Me) but seems to be aiming the performance at Olivia alone. Thus making us wonder: is he, as his wife accuses, a serial flirt, perhaps even a serial cheat?
The endings left open, perhaps to give us the choice to decide what happens at the outcome? I think this is the main weakness of the piece. While I often enjoy films with a little bit of mystery at the end, I don’t think this works in a short.
As with many short films, I felt like we’d entered into the story at the beginning of the second act, therefore a lot of mystery already surrounded the characters – so much so in fact that I actually had to read the credits to find out the female characters names – who I didn’t feel there was time to grow to care for, or about. Leaving an open ending then felt like having no ending at all, with many questions unanswered, and a few only half asked. The direction, however, was very well done, and though the camera was bereft of a steady-cam (usually one of my major grievances) the piece didn’t suffer for it, rather, this just added a personal feel. The acting too wasn’t bad; slightly forced at times, but not bad.
Overall, this just didn’t do anything for me. Some people may watch and feel angry, sad or even touched at the end, but I just feel a bit puzzled. I think this needed to either be longer, or have a more satisfying ending.
HIDDEN TALENT Review
Being wrong never felt so right.