Review: Never.

Written and directed by Christopher Logan, a meeting delves into the socio-political after a truly human moment breaks the group open. Starring: Bruce Novakowski, Andrew Ahmed, Charles Jarman, Jenn Forgie, Synthia Yusuf, Marie V. Sharp, Allan Morgan, Cecilly Day and Kyle Charles Gannon.

A key element which can’t be skipped over is the visual choices, while a multi-video call set up is perfectly normal in today’s landscape, to messily overlap them was an odd and distracting choice. To also have them sporadically appearing and disappearing was again a strange choice, which takes away from the emotional atmosphere it’s trying to build. It lacks a more real, grounded feel to the aesthetic, even though the tone does capture the classic awkwardness of daily life in a remote world, horrible small talk, trying to connect with co-workers you’ve never actually met in person.

The concept is a nice idea, having people convert a boring work call into a reminder of the constant failures, struggles and discrimination people face. Although making that transition is a sincerely challenging thing to pull off, and it doesn’t entirely work here. The story begins in a very everyday manner, with a touch of the cheesy, then quickly tries to bring in a genuinely heavy emotional moment to move into slightly poetic territory and it’s handled too lightly. The two can’t blend together so it struggles to keep a sincerity, especially fighting against the slightly distracting nature of the visual. The key moment that connects the two is also not dealt with in a clear manner, the performance could easily be interpreted in different ways and not concretely what they’re looking for.

Overall the performances are well done, they do feel convincing portraying your average person but unfortunately the story doesn’t have the depth to let them pull off anything more emotional. The use of simultaneous speech to emphasise the meaning falls slightly hollow, its poetic and poignant nature can’t quite succeed without a background of emotional depth to arise from. It has a point to make about universal experiences, not just our own but being aware of the troubles others face also. It’s a generous and empathetic concept but there’s so little time to explore it that it can’t be pulled off.

Never. is an interesting idea to explore common struggles within a modern, yet everyday setting but it doesn’t have the room or atmosphere to grow into something more effective. Its visual choices undercut the emotional tone and while the performances are solid, the story moves in a way that tries to pull off too harsh and sudden of a transition to heavy territory. There’s a kindness and sympathy to it but everything just isn’t working together to push it where it needs to go.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

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