Written and directed by Uzo Oleh, to stay alive, a desperate man must trust that his reflection can see the future and has his best interests at heart. Starring: Michael Socha and Stuart Bowman.
One of the keys to success with a short film is kicking things off on a strong note and Edicius does exactly that. The cinematography is superb, the score is subtle yet very effective, the colour scheme is mysterious and compelling, and the camera moves slowly but thoughtfully; it’s an impressive combination and one that makes an instant impression. It creates an intense vulnerability, mixed with sadness, apprehension and insecurity. It then takes the leap into its psychological games with a sincere confidence, not holding back, not waiting to explain itself further before playing with your expectations, simply diving in. While Uzo Oleh easily creates that sense of chaos, confusion and fear, the camera movement holds onto that pensive, curious style, two things which should contradict one another but work undeniably well. It’s also enhanced by the location choice, the flat setting touches upon dystopian visuals of cinema, with its minimalist energy.
Oleh’s directorial style is strong and confident consistently throughout, there’s a serious amount of talent emanating from the screen. An attribute which is then well supported by the dual performance of Michael Socha, not quite as sinister as a double take of Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy but there’s a gentle touch of similar energy. One of the great things about Socha’s portrayal and the persona he brings in most roles, is his relatability. Even while deeper possibilities and questionable qualities to Jason arise, there’s an ineffable down to earth nature to his personality. He also does well to capture the imperfect nature of reacting to a stressful situation, trying to process the weight of that information makes for unavoidably messy, instinctive decisions.
The writing hits a good stride and is paced well, while playing with time is extremely common at this point in cinema, the story does still feel original. It plays off a lot of familiar themes of being blind to the danger of those around us, wanting to protect those you love and above all, how sometimes we can’t take our own advice, or get out of our own way. There’s a deep dive discussion which could be had of interpreting the idea of an alternate self versus a physical manifestation of the conscience. It’s such questions which help give the film a few more layers, otherwise if it was cut down to some of its basics, it may begin to sound too much like what we’ve seen before.
Edicius is well shot, stylish, modern and gripping. Michael Socha leads with a sincerely sympathetic character, while also providing an alternate version who feels colder and calculated, showing a big range in a brief 19-minutes. Uzo Oleh’s work behind the camera is impressive, supported by cinematographer Tristan Chenais, and he manages to bring a new feel to a story of multiple realities and time distortion. The only thing that’s potentially missing to push it further is creating a stronger emotional impression, to leave a more lasting memory.