Three Poems: A Short Film – Movie Review

Three PoemsThree Poems is writer/director Jake Houston Harris’ debut short film. The short is exactly as it sounds, a trio of poems, put to a cinematic backdrop which accents Australia’s beautiful landscapes, exploring themes of pride, arrogance, weakness and stubbornness. As the short opens we are greeted to an engaging visual display which draws in the viewer while the words “And then Man created time and spent eternity trying to outrun it” appear on the screen. The ominous music, an original score by Zayd Thring, sets the tone as we enter the first cinematic poem. Before continuing I have to simply say that the score and the music for this film are phenomenal. The short is worth the view to hear the music alone.

In a Boat - CopyThe first poem, That Ominous Water, has a lyrical tone whose cadenced rhythm draws you in and captures you. A lone woman sits in a row boat whose mooring is coming undone. She has the chance to pull herself in, and instead watches the rope slide off the dock and into the water. The poem starts off with the tone of hopelessness we know the character will feel by the end: “The waters rise about her drift… her old mesh satellite dampens thoughts, unheard, into inauspicious whispers.” The most despairing moment of this short within a short is when you realize that hope is so close, yet despair is so prevalent and looming that there can be no happy ending. What happens on the screen goes hand in hand with the lyrics and they manage to accent each other, while being able to maintain their uniqueness as individuals.

Man Burying Woman - CopyThe second poem, Rose Arcadia, is a lesson in futility. We join two, presumed, lovers, lying in the dirt, burying each other. It’s easy to understand that this is the end of a relationship, yet the image of them burying each other sticks with me. It reminds me of a quote my high school English teacher used to say many years ago about this form of self-destructive behaviour in literature or any sort of arts medium: “they are immolating themselves on a pier of their own construction.” It’s a haunting quote that has stuck with me to this day and I watch as it plays out with no way to stop it. I can’t even remember the actual poem for this short as the imagery supersedes any lyrical association.

Stand Off 2 - CopyThe final poem, The Grey, carries a political message around the tensions between European and Indigenous populations within Australia, but it can carry its message to any country.  This poem features the most exquisite of the imagery and overall accents the amazing cinematography throughout this entire short.  This third poem is a stand-off, and the intensity goes hand in hand with the feelings of desolation, loneliness, poverty, racial separation, and the need to come to terms with differences.

Woman Burying ManOverall this short is highly engaging and is doing quite well on the festival circuits. Harris premiered Three Poems in Manhattan at the 23rd Magikal Charm Experimental Festival and was accepted into the Cannes Court Metrage Short Film Corner Festival in France. It made its Australian debut at the Reel Good Film Festival in Melbourne in April. Three Poems also won the Gold Remi at the Houston Worldfest for Best Dramatic Short.

Stand Off 1 - CopyThree Poems is an exercise in surrealist film and is quite experimental, but it works. There are philosophical interludes between the poems themselves, which heighten a sense of pretentiousness to the short, but not in the way where pretentiousness is a bad thing. There is a niche audience for this kind of short film. Many will find it unnecessary and, dare I say it again, pretentious. But that’s the joys of experimental film making, it’s not for everyone, and those that do enjoy it are guaranteed to enjoy this feat.

Three Poems Poster - CopyI can’t wait to see what Harris has up his sleeve next.

Check out Three Poems on IMDB!

Check out the trailer for Three Poems!

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All Hail the King – A Short Film Review

SlatteryIt is a must that before you sit down to take in the Marvel One Shot All Hail the King that you see Iron Man 3. Sure, All Hail the King only clocks in at just over 10 minutes, yet its entire premise is centred on the events of Trevor Slattery acting as The Mandarin. The setup is simple. A journalist has arrived at the prison where Slattery is being held and is interviewing him to try and find out who the real Trevor Slattery is, and why he felt the need to take on the acting role of The Mandarin.

all hail the kingWe meet up with Slattery, played by the ever-talented and very funny Sir Ben Kingsley, in the mess hall where he is kept alive by an ever-growing fan base. Everyone knows who Slattery is, yet they still refer to him as The Mandarin. The whole exploration into Slattery is to expose that when an actor stays in a role for so long he begins to personify the role in his (or her) day-to-day life.

MandarinWhile Slattery is raking in the flattery, not everyone is happy. For comic fans out there it seems that the real Mandarin is horrified that a fool such as Slattery has taken his name and his legend and made such a mockery of it and decides he wants Slattery to pay.

The One-Shot is short and its fun. However, I found myself questioning what the point of this short film was. The revelation for why this short is important is revealed within the last few minutes, but only serves to be of any substance if the story is prolonged and made into either a stand-alone film, or another adventure for Iron Man or The Avengers.

Justin HammerAll Hail the King also has a great cameo by Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, who you may remember from the extremely lack lustre Iron Man 2. All in all, the short is great fun for Marvel fans and hopefully sets up the stage for the real Mandarin to take his throne.

all-hail-the-king Check out All Hail the King on IMDB!