Hello everyone and welcome back to another Movie Monday.
Last week I talked about 10 Things I Hate About You which you should check out if you haven’t already.
This week’s #moviemonday is a little bit different because I am going to be discussing a short film.
At some point in the future on Katelovesliterature.com, I am going to discuss why I love different mediums for different reasons. For example, I will explain why I love short stories and why I think they serve a different purpose when compared to full-length novels etc.
I will also talk in more detail about why I love short films as well as feature-length movies but the short version, pardon the pun, is that I enjoy short films because the narrative is captured in a shorter space of time and I believe this is a really interesting challenge for filmmakers and directors because you do not have two hours to play with. You may only have five minutes and what you do with those five minutes can be amazing.
Drug Runner is a 2018 documentary film, directed by Charlotte Regan and the story that is told in only seven minutes is incredibly moving.
So let’s dive into Movie Monday.
This short film is narrated by a voiceover. The voice speaking is a grown man – he remains unnamed – and he talks the audience through his experience of becoming a drug runner at the age of fifteen. As we hear the voiceover, we are watching the events of his youth play out.
He is a boy from a poor area and he wants to help out his mother by bringing in some money and I believe this short film highlights just how easy it is to fall in with the wrong crowd and how one naive decision can lead to dangerous consequences.
There is the narrator who we do not see at any point. He has grown up, matured, turned away from the life of drug running, and he is now talking about his experiences.
There is the young boy that we see onscreen. He is innocent. He is just a kid. He is in school, working hard, worried about his Mam, and then one encounter with the wrong crowd, and one drug run led to constant phone calls, no sleep, school being interrupted, and the terrifying, claustrophobic feeling that he cannot escape this life.
We have the clients. There are many different people who buy and use drugs and some of them are grown men in very affluent areas. I thought it was really interesting how this movie highlighted the class divide in only seven minutes because it showed how poorer people taking drugs in poorer areas are often looked down at but wealthy people in posh, affluent areas can take drugs at a party on the weekends and it is viewed as them just having some fun – and it is the rich people who looked down at the young boy who was delivering the drugs. It was a classic example of hypocritical people demanding a service and then looking down at those who provide it.
Something to note about this short film is that while it features drugs and drug use, it is not about drugs. The movie is not making the statement that drugs are bad. It is not a documentary about addiction or about how dangerous drugs can be. The boy is not cast in a bad light or a tragic one. He is not a villain or a hero. He is simply a boy who due to circumstances beyond his control – poverty – fell in with a drug running crowd and started earning money by being a drug runner.
The boy remains unnamed and I believe this was intentional because the point is that it could happen to anyone. The narrator states that while he did step away from that world, he does not regret what happened because the money he brought in really helped his family, and if it was not him then it would have been another fifteen year old and he is sure that currently there is another naive fifteen year old running drugs because it does not stop. As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be people who will run them.
I think the theme and message is a very educational one. This short shows in only seven minutes how we should not judge anyone who falls into these situations because it is so easily done. It is not a judgemental film, it is simply a factual one. This happens and it will continue to happen.
You may be thinking can a film that is only seven minutes long have a structure?
Yes. Yes it can.
I would say this short film has three sections, The setup, The Trap, and The Downfall.
This film also uses colours and sounds in a really interesting way.
So at the beginning, the voiceover is explaining how everything began and audiences see the boy in his flat, and at school, and there are many panning shots to show the area where he lives.
Every shot is gloomy with smog, and grey skies. The boy is in his school uniform, which is white, in his school, the shots are light and airy and mostly white – white uniforms, white desks, white walls etc.
When the voiceover starts describing how drug running became consuming, his voiceover is intruded by the constant buzzing of a phone, and we see the boy in his room, late at night, getting constant messages. His phone is buzzing constantly and obnoxiously, it is red, his entire room is lit up in red lights and red is a very intense, heavy colour and the audience can see how this young boy is becoming trapped in this world.
Then there is the downfall. The voiceover is interrupted by sirens. The screen is taken up by flashing blue lights. The young boy is arrested. This downfall is the turning point because this is the moment where he learns he has to get out. He can’t do this anymore. He can’t take the fall for the older boys. This can’t be his life.
All throughout the short, there is uneventful music playing in the background but after his arrest, it stops. The film is silent aside from the sound of the rain pelting down on the sidewalk and I believe this rain symbolises the fresh start that is to come.
My final thoughts are that this is a really powerful short film and I would recommend it to anyone.
I am so impressed by the story that was told in only seven minutes and I think this short is a great example of why I enjoy short films.
It is educational and it is moving and I think that if you like short films then this is one you don’t want to miss.
So this has been Movie Monday. It was a little different than usual but I hope you all enjoyed it.
Next Monday I will be back with a feature-length film.
Do you like short films? Let me know in the comments below.
I hope you all have a great week.