ONE NIGHT STAND: SATISFYING VISUAL EXPERIENCE

Directed by Wojciech Zielinski | Review by Rimute Terra Budreviciute

One Night Stand is a very simple story. It follows a successful businessman in his one night stand that goes horrifyingly wrong. The whole story serves as sort of an allegory, for taking responsibility: he struggles with divorce because he failed his wife; she wants to take their daughter away from him; he struggles in life to find love – hence, the one night stand girl not really been too keen on staying with him. The story ends with the man trying to make a decision and the viewer analysing his or her own life. Will he decide to tell the police what happened? How would he explain what happened? It’s the old-time human question: me versus the other – who’s more important? In this situation we don’t see a decision being made, so we’re left wondering on both the characters and our decision: which is a good choice for a story like this.

It’s a story that truly, carries some value to today’s society of irresponsible behavior. But instead, like many films, scaring it’s viewer to oblivion, or shocking him/her, One Night Stand stays true to itself and to events that are absolutely plausible to happen in real life. The simplicity is what makes it a great story instead of just dully noted “good story”: it focuses on the life of the main character, instead of divulging in the life of the viewer. That way, the viewer is fully immersed in a trance and only wakes up in the end, when the story is over and the black screen reveals to the viewer his or her reaction and a choice: would you chose betrayal over truth? It’s an excellent choice that short film filmmakers rarely make and it’s one that not only adds to the story, but also for the viewership experience. Unlike many movies now, this movie gives you space for thought and your own interpretation.

One of the greatest feats of this short film, as mentioned, is at the core of the story. Two main characters, with normal lives and human-like issues and a plotline even a five year old could follow. The other good things about the film are the cinematography and editing, and that eerie music. The person who did the coloring for this film truly deserves an award: not one shot missed, not one frame skipped; it’s a visually thrilling experience. The shots in general are very satisfying: you want to continue watching this short film just because of this. Many short films fail to achieve this: the filmmakers concentrate on the story, rather than a satisfying viewing experience.

One Night Stand manages to do both. The other great feature of this short film is it’s score: eerie, mixing well with the dialogue and the cinematography. The composer understands the story and how real life works: how we, as human beings reflect on these kinds of situations and how we feel when the looming shadow of indecision attacks us and he uses that inconsistency in his score. You can feel the character’s feelings and the environment through the music.

However, those were the positive points of One Night Stand. While it’s a nice short film, it’s far from great. The lead actor gives an unbelievably dull performance as a father: all of the lines are delivered the same; his emotional range seems to be the size of a thumb. While he has his good moments, the actor needs to learn how to be an active listener, not just learn his lines. The female lead is no better: she emotionally is, of course, limited, by her screen time, but it’s no excuse to show more vulnerability to the audience. Directing she could also be better. It’s very simple and predictable, and utterly not original. That is not to say that it’s bad: we all make choices we deem fit and for the most part, those choices are fitting the tone of the story, but the director could experiment a bit more in the future. Combined together, the acting and directing are well composed features of this film, but they don’t stand out. It seems too ordinary for such a good movie.

One Night Stand is a good film. It’s not a great film yet, but with some revisions, it surely could be. The story is satisfying and understandable, the view is detailed and precise. From the technical side, you can’t complain about this movie at all, but the movie’s lead actors fail to meet the bar set by high production value. The people who played those parts are not bad actors, they simply didn’t make the choices they could have made and that’s understandable: we all have the moments in our careers that are like that. But when you have a movie that’s beautifully shot, with a good story and decent dialogue, one wonders why the cast put so little effort into it.

In conclusion: this is a short film that should be recommended to other moviemakers as a learning experience in cinematography and storytelling. It’s simple, captivating and full of life. Something you rarely see in indie short films. Good job!

 

Rimute Terra Budreviciute is a filmmaker, actress and singer from Lithuania. She has been a part of numerous stage and TV musicals in her home country. She is a graduate of Alytus Music School and has been a member of pop group “O Lia Lia” for 3 years before coming out to United States to study acting at American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since then she has been working on multiple short films and plays.