Review: Camera Test Subject

Written and directed by Sean Meehan, a peek inside the mind of an actor (Timothy J. Cox) in the throes of something truly terrible: a camera test.

Wandering the streets of New York City could quite possibly be its own genre considering how iconic it is in cinema and for good reason because if you capture it right, it’s incredibly atmospheric. Meehan does extremely well in that respect, running the show as a one-man band, his direction and cinematography is distinctive and sharp. It’s also very well lit because filming at night can be a horrible challenge, but there’s no detail to be missed with the way he’s shot the film, it’s surprisingly rich. The editing also adds to the experience, it jumps around rather than simply feeling perfectly linear, giving it a good dose of movement and enhancing the feeling of the passing of time.

The interesting thing about this film is mixing that sharp visual with an almost tongue-in-cheek narration by its only star, Timothy J. Cox. It’s basically a stream of consciousness which is extremely relatable, both to actors and non-actors alike, being given instructions with no explanation or reason, is something that anyone that’s worked any kind of job will empathise with. Cox has a very natural presence which makes that sympathy come easily but at the same time with his irritable glances and downtrodden demeanour he more than certainly portrays that awkwardness the narration dictates.

Its story is a deceptively simple one, an actor walks around the city for a screen test while wondering what the man behind the camera is thinking but what it actually does is expose insecurities, anxieties and the general daily thoughts of your average person. It gives a brief peek into the mind of its subject, most of his thoughts may be as expected but there’s a surprising psychology that reveals itself in its final moments. It’s the slightest phrase but it changes the tone completely and leaves you on a quizzical note which is really enjoyable and rounds out its short but worthwhile experience in a satisfying manner.

Camera Test Subject has an utterly relatable and slightly sarcastic narration mixed with a vibrant and sharp cinematography, together they add a surprising depth to its brief three minutes. Cox gives a natural and sympathetic performance, that has a consistent tone right up until the last second where his cadence changes just enough to leave you with a lot of questions and curiosities about what sort of man this subject really is. Given that Meehan and Cox have worked together on a number of previous projects, it’s no surprise that they work superbly well together and it shows through this film.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ | 8/10

Check it out for yourself below!

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