Directed by: #RyanYJafri
Starring: #TomMartin, #AlexHebert
Short Film Review by: Alexandra James
The Call is a short film set in 1965 and one man struggling with the daily grind of his corporate job. The film is in black and white which is a smart move when trying to convey this mundane and bleak lifestyle that the average work obsessed stiff must adopt in order to keep a roof over their head. This job is life to our protagonist, the audience are not made aware of who or what the main character does for a living, but it is evident from just the 10 minutes of footage that he is trapped in this world of eat or be eaten. With just one character and a single room, the audience witness the mental state of this worker deteriorate rapidly as he is patronised by his brute of a boss and his future career with the firm hangs in the balance. A tension fuelled film that becomes ramped up to the max with the incessant ticking of a clock, counting the hours going by and accentuating the little time the worker has left to fix the mistakes made before receiving that fatal call from his boss.
The cinematography was wonderful as it told a story, setting the narrative as a black and white film gave this short that nostalgic appearance and the piece a sleek and sharp look. Much like the image the character himself was trying to portray but could never reach. The character’s apartment looked simple and plain, nothing lavish or expensive, which highlights the character only buys within his means. It demonstrates to the audience that this is all the character can afford and he earns enough to just get by. From this image, our main character is, to put bluntly, trying the best with what he can. Ryan Y. Jafri, director of The Call, wanted to show the more depressing aspects which come with the ‘working man life’ and to highlight that working beyond your capabilities doesn’t always pay off or is recognised by the big bosses above.
The phone call from the main character’s boss is very animated and extremely intimidating, I think I would be writing a strongly worded email to HR if I received this kind of call at home! Nevertheless, the worker takes this call and the abuse that comes with it. Crumbling under the pressure to set things straight, he has a pressing deadline but discrepancies in his report forces the man to try again. However, was this him who made the mistakes? Or Shirley his colleague? Was this sabotage? Or a way to get rid of him altogether? Many questions arise from this short and it’s for us to determine what the truth is and what is fiction, it is the ending which completely turns the narrative on its head and is a definite thought provoker.
The tone of the boss’s voice was very brooding and totally over the top so I would suggest a less exaggerated voice as it almost made the piece comical at times when it should not have been. However, it was great to see this style of film making, very Hitchcockian with the climactic plot twist and average people placed in difficult or destructive situations. It’s always fantastic to see directors paying homage to that which has come before, it’s a grateful tip of the hat to great directors and their work.