I often get sent short films by directors who have lots of promising ideas on display in their short but who have failed to remember that they are not making a feature. Short films need to be succinct. They need to stand on their own feet. For example Under the Dark Wing attempts to take one of its three main characters on an epic journey of ethical and moral dilemmas and through battles with substance abuse. This plays out over the course of just a few short minutes whilst the film also tries to find time to tell a central plot about mafiosa style villains and their encounters with a supernatural force. There’s no shortage of interesting ideas there but there’s just too much going on.
It will be worth seeing what happens with director Christopher Di Nunzio’s career after this. He has a couple of features lined up and if he can bring the same level of inventiveness and ambition to those as he did this then I would like to see the end result. I would be on board with a feature version of this with its mixture of the criminal underworld, moral questioning and spiritual/supernatural goings on. The cast aren’t given the best dialogue to work with but David Graziano does a good job at channeling some dark menace into his gang leader role and Jessy Rowe does the best she can with unwieldy dialogue and a thinly drawn character. It’s a shame to have to report that this doesn’t all come together the way it should but it’s worth taking a look and seeing what you think for yourself as there’s plenty of intriguing things going on beneath the surface.
What is the film’s greatest strength? The situation it sets up is intriguing and it holds a lot of promise.
Its greatest weakness? There’s no succinctness. It isn’t really a short at all…
Would I see it again? No… which is a pity as this could have been a lot better.
Thanks for reading, please do let your thoughts escape out into the comment box below!