Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Friend Catcher (2011)

By: lucycampbell
Synopsis: A surreal story about a lunchbox adventure.

Review: We often look back at our childhood exlaiming they were the best years of our lives because of the fun we had, the fact we didn't judge pre-judge people in our classes and the feeling we had of doing whatever we wanted. All this is true, but could we only behave this way when we were children? The Friend Catcher is an exquisite short film looking at one of the less obvious concepts of children- our mind. As kids, without knowing it, we could open our mind to whatever we wanted to, with no limits or boundaries- we had adventures. This is the beauty that The Friend Catcher portrays to us; how our minds worked as children.
The film starts as if it is an advert for Persil, kids rushing around, getting into trouble, lots of noise - we remember it like it was yesterday. As soon as the title appears, the soundtrack changes and you realise this film is going to be a lot more than that. Echoed is the squabble of kids voices, crashing of chairs and lunchboxes on tables which is realistic enough for anyone to relate to. It's lunchtime. Kids freedom in a school day.
After a sudden silence, as an audience member you feel alienated because of the big impact the muted soundtrack has and then with voices surrounding one particular school boy, you feel his fear as the rest of the hall turns and starts whispering to one another. The soundtrack includes the conversations and thoughts between all the school kids in a giant, vicious echo which is enough to drag the audience down into remembering the bad part of being a child.
This is where the team (lucycampbell) completely changes the grounds of The Friend Catcher and introduces the ingenious idea of the children's lunchboxes revealing the child's imagination. With fantastic use of 'dings', nature sounds, voices of angry adults in the audio effects and a great deal of creativity in the props such as a bandanna and a pet or two; it's bizarre that these scenes don't seem odd. In fact, it all feels quite natural and believable. Then as the main pupil looks around, more and more marvellous things are revealed from the children's lunchboxes. One decorated in space ships, another made out of grass and so on; it's simply glorious to see the young actors and actresses open their boxes to let loose the wonders that their mind holds. The range of different angles and shots, the camera conveys the random sense which is so apparent in the mind of the children.
The Friend Catcher then pushes deeper into the minds of the children, with the last part of the film entering a visual, new world. In only a matter of seconds, the children crowd round a particular lunchbox and the enter it. After the soundtrack of laughs and cheers has faded, you feel yourself smile at the thought of travelling with them into their imagination. In what a journey, The Friend Catcher is a sweet tale of fun and children's naivety- something we have all had once. Lucycampbell forces the audience to reminisce the 'good days' of being young with a group of very talented actors, beautifully mastered angles and a soundtrack that holds the film together.

I began this review saying that we could only open our mind to wonders as children. But that's not really true, is it?
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