Sometimes I look around and smile at my loved ones, inhale the scent of roses and remember how good life is. Sometimes, of course, I look around and scowl at people, inhale the sick aroma of yet another fart from the dog and moan about how there are never enough hours in the day and how I always have so much to do. Thankfully, when I'm in the latter situation there is usually a point at which a little voice in my head will tell me to buck up and appreciate all that I have and all the good things that come my way. The little voice directs me back to the first option.
This way of thinking, and good quality of life, ties in with Familiar, a short film written and directed by Richard Powell. I was sent an email asking if I'd check it out and, as ever, I thought this was very nice of whoever would make such a request (in this case it was producer Zach Green). It's great to see something that I've heard absolutely nothing about beforehand and it's even better when the film turns out to be great, as this one did. See? It's a good life. The little voice is often right though it never used to be so positive.
Familiar is all about that little voice inside. It's not a nice little voice but it's quite constant and determined while speaking inside the head of John Dodd (Robert Nolan). John isn't a happy man and the voice keeps reminding him of that fact. Maybe he will be happy soon, his daughter (Cathryn Hostick) is about to head off to college and he can then leave his wife (Astrida Auza), or maybe people and circumstances will seemingly conspire to keep him miserable.
There may only be a cast of three for this film but at least all three do a good job, with Robert Nolan the obvious highlight - the focus is on his character and the near-constant inner monologue is his. The script is sharp, twisted and also horribly believable in many ways. Anyone who has at some point sat at home and tried to blame everyone and everything else for holding them back in life will recognise the venom on display here.
The whole thing is also beautifully shot, which helps draw viewers in as the anger and paranoia of the main character quickly turn into something potentially dangerous. In fact, the film expertly builds from standard domestic unhappiness to real horror so cunningly that viewers may well find themselves, quite rightly, stunned by the time the end credits roll.
It runs for just over 20 minutes, which is enough time for layer upon layer to build up en route to the great finale, but I would love it if this was expanded into a full-length feature somehow. I don't think it's an impossibility. As a decent alternative, I'll definitely head along to see ANY feature that writer-director Richard Powell comes up with so I encourage everyone to lend their support to a considerable talent that I hope to see much more from in future.
Check out the trailer here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC7vUD2OQSo