By Kevin Woodley (@kev_woodley)
A Black Mirror inspired set up lays the basis for a ten minute short that is cool on ideas but lacking in the parts needed to elevate it to something more rewarding. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did and I’m always inclined to these simple set ups that end with some loose ends left for the viewer to tie up. I don’t think films should force feed anything to a viewer because we’re more intelligent than what blockbuster films would suggest, but I needed more to chew on for Ring Ring. Of course, it is only ten minutes long so any brevity is understandable, but come the end of the film it was unclear as to whether what I’d seen was clever, hidden and I wasn’t connecting all the pieces, or it was suffering from a lack of development and thin writing. I’m still not sure, so I’ll settle somewhere down the middle.
First of all, credit has to go to the quality of the film itself. It was all self-contained within a flat. The budget would’ve kept to a minimum, but it didn’t take anything away from the film, which looked great throughout. I enjoyed the opening as well, which draws you into the mystery almost immediately – there’s a sense of something sinister. But the film doesn’t really play on it enough as it perhaps could have. That’s just me, though – when a film sets up a plot device like the one used in Ring Ring, I expect a little more, even at ten minutes. The other half of the film has to pay attention to its cast and creating a believable scenario – unfortunately, this is where the film struggles.
The acting wasn’t bad, but I didn’t believe it. Even seasoned actors don’t always convince in their roles, they might be playing it note perfect, but if you can’t see through the barrier that let’s you know what you are seeing is an actor acting, then the delivered lines can become robotic and stale very quickly. And that’s what distracted the film for me. I can appreciate the difficulty in creating fully fledged characters in under ten minutes, but the film could have benefited from a better script.
I’ve grown up on David Lynch and films that wink at you as you watch, so I’m always happy to see filmmakers divert away from the norm. Ring Ring was no exception. I liked the premise. It looked great. It just didn’t work on enough levels for me. It could work for you. At only ten minutes there’s no reason not to give it a try.