Directed by: #VirSrinivas
Starring: #RichardCotter, #ArmanVanShok, #DavidNicoll
Short Film Review by: Alexandra James
A Proselyte is defined as a person who converts their opinion, religious beliefs or ideologies to another. This short is the story of a priest who must abandon his faith for the greater good. The Proselyte shows a man’s internal battle between his heart and his head. To break away from the Church can bring serious consequences and raises a lot of questions regarding their commitment as a devote Catholic and even to God. This was a great film which highlights the heavy decision-making process which can weigh on our conscience and unravels the ways in which our mind balance right from wrong.
The film begins with a priest in handcuffs analysing his hands which are covered in blood, a very strong image to open with. The audience are left in a state of guessing, who is this man? Is he violent? Whose blood is smeared on his hands? This is a great way of keeping the audience engaged as we become more invested in the character and want to seek out an answer to these questions. The film then reverts back to the beginning where we are now in a dark confession box and it is difficult to make out the character’s features, which only adds to this mysterious ambience. This is where we learn that there is a serial killer on the loose who is unable to suppress their intrusive thoughts to kill again. It is the priest who has to hold onto this dark secret and would be committing a grave sin if he were to repeat this confession to anyone. This was an interesting plot as it allows the director to play around with a variety of themes from a religious, moral and human standpoint making the audience choose what they believe to be the ‘right’ passage for the priest to go down.
The ominous music playing in the background, hymns and choral music felt almost foreboding and implemented a tension to many of the scenes. However, at times the music seemed too much and was overplayed. It sometimes did not match what was playing out on screen and could have been toned down. It would have been great to have more close up shots of the killer, especially during the scene where the priest was watching his every move. To see the emotion on his face and to put the audience in his shoes would have created more of a thrill, perhaps even see everything from the killer’s perspective to really add to the action. The actor Richard Cotter who played the priest was brilliant, even without dialogue, a lot could be read from the character’s expressions and the worry and angst was embedded into his face.
This was an intense short film with a great narrative, it is always fascinating to explore more complex themes such as religion. The Proselyte was thrilling and compelling and certainly exposes the harsh realities of determining right from wrong, making for a stirring cinematic experience.