Written and directed by Marshall Tyler, Bernard Brash heals and finds hope by learning how to dance. Starring: Jimmie Fails, Zion Rupert, Tamica Washington-Miller, Ellie Grace Siler and Erwin Washington.
Some films can say nothing at all and still convey a rich atmosphere of emotion, Slow Pulse is one of those films. Marshall Tyler’s direction is immediately modern and sharp but grows a natural depth as it moves forward. Expertly imparting the stress, anxiety and fear which hide beneath the story. It’s topped with a score which terrifically heightens the tension, pushing the emotion further. There’s a great palette of rich colours at work, with a darker hue to reflect the more solemn nature to the tone. Tyler’s direction also manages to balance that with an underlying sweetness, even without knowing where the film is going, you can feel that its journey comes from a place of love and compassion.
It’s exactly what makes Slow Pulse work so well, there’s plentiful layers at work with this story and it doesn’t need to hand them to you, they bloom in their own time. It makes it all the more satisfying in how the story reveals itself in the latter stages, it primes its viewers with the emotions at work so that it can deliver a truly heart-breaking blow. The progression works perfectly to tell such a beautiful story in an unusual, understated way, allowing it to never enter a realm of stereotype or overt sentimentality. The creation of Bernard’s character in itself is one of the film’s biggest successes. He’s such a complex, dedicated and generous character, that even while it takes some time to get to know him, well before his motivations are revealed, you can easily relate to his struggle and strive.
When you wrap that package up in an actor who has as magnetic and deep of a presence as Jimmie Fails, it’s always going to be a recipe for success. Fails holds such a passion and combining it with the fractured quality to Bernard, he creates a unique exploration of worry and fear. It’s also just a genuine pleasure to see such a committed character brought to life, he creates a heart-warming quality in a harrowing story, which enables it to hold onto hope. You can feel throughout that there’s something heavier at work but his sheer dedication feeds into the film’s more complex atmosphere and gives a fantastic variety of emotion.
Slow Pulse is a superbly shot, emotional short that packs a tearful punch. Jimmie Fails shows yet again what a unique and special presence he holds, filling the film with complexity, struggle and a dash of hope. The story is paced perfectly to focus on the elements you don’t expect, to keep a feel of originality, which it achieves to perfection. It creates a wonderfully tense atmosphere, bottling up a huge range of emotions which are played out terrifically by the story. It says a lot while never needing to say much at all but when it does, it strikes right to the heart.