Distraction

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The red and blue flashing lights of on-coming police cars surround the motel where Ethan (Ross Steeves) is sat looking aghast, and we are then taken back to the beginning to see just how this story starts. After an expletive, slightly comical lambasting from his boss, Ethan is sent away to finish to his script. His boss hurls the script at him, which provides the stand out shot of Distraction, a slow motion close up of Ethan being surrounded by his scattered script mid air.

Ethan picks up a prostitute and takes her away to a secluded motel in the American desert. The gloriously dusty roads and the magnificent landscapes give the audience a familiar setting but one that is quite hard to tire of. The cinematography is accomplished throughout and this is most obviously shown in the journey to the motel. The prostitute, Angel (Jolene Andersen) is seductively lit and the red-hot desert sun radiates off her auburn hair. Ethan’s narration is the main device that pushes the narrative forward and literally places us inside the character’s psyche, which is even more important on a second viewing.

Whilst in the motel Ethan proceeds to write his script but the dangerous combination of liquor, pills and a prostitute only increases his distraction level. The motel scene is expertly shot with a trippy, hallucinatory sequence that pushes time along nicely, which when accompanied with the low key lighting and the eerie, distorted sound design provides an engaging, tense scene. This all culminates in an explosive ending that has a terrific David Fincher-esque reveal, highlighting the skill of the scriptwriter and director, Stephen Schuster.

Watching Distraction for a second time gives you context and understanding that was not apparent on the first viewing and therefore gives a whole new meaning to some of the dialogue and scenes. It is an impressively made short that keeps you intrigued from the outset, reminiscent of classical noir films. Distraction adds a modern twist to this genre and encourages multiple viewings, which is an excellent trait for a short film to have.

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