Justin Leyba is a young and talented filmmaker with potential based on his 2012 short film THE OLD MAN AND THE LION. Although there a couple of problems with the script, he shows he has what it takes behind the lens as a director.
The story is about a father coming to visit his estranged son one day out of the blue. It is obvious from their initial exchange that the son is not happy to see his father. Once inside the father asks him obvious questions; how is he doing, what’s he up to, etc. It is mentioned that the two have not talked in “awhile”. I put the word in quotes because I have a problem with the use of this word. What is awhile? A couple of hours? Days? Months? Years? A little more insight into this would better help the viewer understand the dynamic of this troubled relationship. The son makes his father dinner and then goes to bed. A couple of problems happen at this point. First, the son obviously does not want his father in his room yet when he goes to his room he does not close nor lock his door. This seems to be because that is what the script requires and not what he would actually do. The next morning the father enters his son’s room and of course the door is not locked and the father discovers that the son has been stealing to make ends met. He discovers it because the son left everything right in the middle of the floor and piled very neatly. This also does not have the ring of truth to it. These few issues diminish what could have been a great short film.
Technically this is a very good looking movie and it is very well shot. I was impressed with the framing and editing. Leyba definitely knows his way around a camera and I applaud him for doing such great work in that regards. There is a superb flashback sequence at the end of the film that is a highlight. I wish that he had included more of this visual style as it is the best part of the story.
As with most short films, the story is somewhat open-ended leaving it up to the viewer to make assumptions as to what will happen to the two main characters. There are some questions at the end of the film that may linger in the viewers mind. Although this is a good effort it is a near miss for me, however, it would not deter me from seeing more films by talented young filmmaker.
THE OLD MAN AND THE LION Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - An aging father reconnects with his troubled son only to find out a promise made broken.