Friday, June 9, 2017

Shattered




Short film by Mikel D. Ledesma
Cinematographer Anthony Gutierrez

Suspense
4 Out of 5

 "SHATTERED" is powerful and heart-breaking. 

The subject matter for this short film is a familiar story heard and seen in the news far too frequently. A young girl goes missing and the tragedy unfolds via the media. Suspects are rounded up and some are arrested, a court date set and the family of the missing/murdered are dragged through the media circus and the end result is tied up in a neat bow and discarded. But what happens, when the suspect is cleared and released? The sensationalizing of the story begins to wane and interest is lost. 

I got news for you, the hurt, confusion; rage of the families of these missing/murdered children doesn't stop when the story wanes. Their pain is forever and all a grieving parent wants to know is "Why?"

In Shattered Mikel D. Ledesma has a grieving mother of a murdered child and she has not stopped hurting and questioning what happened to her little girl. In this story, this mother is pissed. She is so angry that she takes justice into her own vengeful hands and what happens over the course of this twenty minute short film will blow your mind

Some time ago, I was approached by the cinematographer Anthony Gutierrez to take an early look at "Shattered" and I saw potential for a fan favorite on the festival circuits. A few minor things stuck out to my watchful eye, but in a macabre fashion I enjoyed the story. Meaning I enjoyed the make-up of the story and the actions made throughout by the actress Scarlette Martin who portrayed "Rose Sterling" the grieving mother of "Lily Sterling" (Julianna Ochoa) who was taken from outside her home and murdered.

As the viewer, I saw more than the film showed, I FELT Rose's deep hurt over the loss of her beloved and cherished daughter. This film reached out and touched me at my maternal core. In feeling the emotional battle this woman was facing, she brought it home to me. I cried and continued to cry throughout the film and when her hurt and confusion turned to a blind rage, I felt that sense of rawness that she was feeling. She wanted answers and when the police released the man they believed responsible, I could see as well as feel an encompassing rage and thirst for revenge. 

The child who played "Lily Sterling" was Julianna Ochoa. She broke my heart. In the beginning, she is seen riding her scooter and all the sweetness and innocence of this single happy act is taken in an instant and sullied by a sick faceless person. Her sweet face transforms from sweet and carefree to blooded and still. In the final moments of her life, she is seen and in one gut wrenching sound, the viewer hears as well as sees that "Lily" was aware and feeling everything. This scene was so powerful, I had to push the pause button and I sobbed at the loss of her character's life. 

Matthew Roy portrayed "Tom Collins" the man released by police and found not guilty of "Lily's" death. However, he is targeted by the grief stricken "Rose" and the story takes a turn for a sadistic torture of a man believed by "Lily's" mother to be guilty of her daughter's murder. The taking of "Tom Collins" elicited a smirk and grin from this reviewer. During "Rose's" interrogation/torture of Tom, I admit to enjoying her candor and passion. 

The conclusion of this story will blow your mind. I am confident "Shattered" will do very well on the festival circuit especially with women who are mothers and grandmothers. They will connect to "Rose" and "Lily" on a very emotional scale. Men will cringe and I imagine, quite a few will shrink in their seats at one particular tortuous scene. The scene is unforgettable and I was hard pressed not to smile with a hint of an evil grin...forget it...I smiled. 

The ending was a twist of fate that caused more tears to fall for the characters involved. This is the type of film that anyone seeing it should have tissues handy. I would be so bold as to suggest the handing out of tissues at the door for festival goers upon entering the room to see "Shattered". It would be a good marketing tool and by the end of the film, those tissues would be wet with tears.

"Shattered" is a gut-wrenching tearjerker that stays true to its character's anguish and rage. This look is the part of the story that gets noticed in the news once the original story wanes. As I stated above, the conclusion will blow your mind. 

"Shattered" is not my first film where Anthony Gutierrez is the cinematographer, I have been a fan of his work for a few years. The last few films I have seen were from director Spencer Gray's short film, "Snake with a Human Tail" and new director Billy Pon's feature film, "Circus of the Dead". One of my early short films I reviewed was director Casey Crow's "Klagger" and I really enjoyed getting "Klaggered"!

I believe "Klagger" was the first film in which I discovered Anthony's work and I have been a fan ever since.  With each new film he does, I see growth and perfection. He is a true professional with an extremely talented eye. Look for the October 2014 release of Lionsgate "Devil's Deal" in which Anthony was the cinematographer. The film was directed by Justin Mosley and Allen Reed.

After having viewed this short film, writer/director Mikel D. Ledesma now has my attention. I would like to see more of your work in the future. What I have seen in this short film is a clear vision of a long career ahead for you in the film industry. I'm interested...give me some more. 

To all the actors involved with this short film, take a bow. Scarlette Martin, Julianna Ochoa and Matthew Roy as the key characters in this story, each of you had the power to reach out and pull me into dark places and for that you deserve to take an additional bow. These three actors broke my heart on many levels and when the final scene took place, I jumped out of my skin. Thank you for a job well done. Bravo!

Should any festival out there be looking for a taut, dark revenge filled film written by a man whose female character has the magical and pain-filled touch to make his audience cry and cringe, this is the film. I urge you to contact Mikel D. Ledesma and get it in your film festival. "SHATTERED" is powerful and heart-breaking. 



No comments:

Post a Comment