Director: Earl Wayne Crabtree II
Running Time: 24 minutes
The short film "Kassel" is directed by Earl Wayne Crabtree II, who also wrote the film along with Christopher Wellington Green. It boasts an impressive visual display in just 20ish minutes. From aerial forest shots to interesting effects and angle choices, the technical aspects of this film stand out for those of a first time director. Unfortunately, where this short fails for us is in its storytelling. We were a bit perplexed about what the true narrative of this film was. The way this story is told is almost incomprehensible because so much is left open to interpretation by the audience. In order to remotely understand what is going on, you would have find out facts and details about it somewhere else. We get glimpses and bits and pieces of what's going on, that it's about a World War II soldier who has been injured and may or may not be seeing things after fleeing from a battle, but we are left to disseminate what it all means without guidance or backstory. If the narrative had a little bit more of a basic structure, we may have enjoyed it more than we did. We understand and are all for ambiguity, but the audience must be given at least a small trail of breadcrumbs in order for us to comprehend the artist's full vision. As it stands now, it feels like we were dropped in the middle of a dense forest without a compass, even after watching it twice. There is hardly any dialogue in the film, which is totally fine, but again, there are no real clues in the spoken lines to give us any greater sense of what's going on other than "your food is ready" or "drop your weapon."
Despite "Kassel" having a free-form plot, the acting is great even though it is not dialogue heavy. It is clear that director Earl Wayne Crabtree II has a keen eye for visuals and puts a lot of attention to detail into certain aspects of his film-making, and because of this, we hope we get the chance to see his next project.
*our thanks to Earl Wayne Crabtree II for letting us have the opportunity to screen his short film! Check out his website for more information: http://www.nwpfilmss.com/
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10