Review: "No Friend of Mine" Short Film
No Friend of Mine is the latest short film from True Fiction Pictures, an up and coming film production company headed by indie filmmakers and The Platform creators Seth Robinson Prue, Matt Blood, and James McGhee. It’s a psychological thriller centered around two old friends and a strange conversation that takes place in an apartment on a dark and windy night. The film is vague in its intention, gives little backstory to its characters, and wastes no time jumping right into this interaction after some brief opening credits highlighted by a stuffed animal duck, a gun suspended from an iPhone cable, and a noose. Strange things are afoot and these characters are not what they first appear to be.
The main character here is Fred, played by director James McGhee, who has just come from the airport, claiming to have killed his wife along the way. We have no way of knowing if there is truth to anything that he says, relying on the reactions of Ed, played by Trap Bands, who sits across from him. Ed is hardly more than a little concerned for his friend, whose erratic behavior is off putting, but even though Ed seems just as confused as the audience we get a sense that he has more control over the situation than he lets on. At least my initial reaction led me to feel that Fred was almost a pawn in Ed’s game, whatever it may be, and that Fred’s behavior may be a reaction to something traumatic that happened earlier in his and Ed’s lives. We never truly get inside any one of the characters heads, but when Fred goes to the bathroom we are given more insight to the situation at hand while also becoming more intrigued by his character. This moment leads the audience to attach themselves to Fred’s persona, though I think it’s clear that neither character has full control over their reality, and thus begins a dangerous game.
The camerawork by Seth Robinson Prue is on point and consistent throughout, with tight shots creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that descends the viewer into madness along with the two main characters. With the majority of the film being this conversation there is no need for fancy camera movements or angles that would otherwise distract us from the discussion at hand, allowing us to focus on these characters and become comfortable with their surroundings.
The score was composed by my cousin, Jacob Flynn, more commonly known as Peirc3, and all bias aside the music he has created here is fantastic. The score is an ode to fun, old school detective thrillers with some eerie 80’s vibes thrown in to complement the tone. The constant sound of the wind stops there from being any dead space during the back and forth. Breaks in audio or lulls in conversation can so often kill low budget short films, but it’s smart to have constant noise that fills any of those dead spaces and also builds the tension by not giving the viewer a chance to breathe.
No Friend of Mine is a fun short film that may be a little too ambiguous for its own good but is never meant to be taken completely seriously. You can only fit so much plot inside of a 14 minute runtime and the filmmakers here opted to create a psychological puzzle that is missing some pieces and the pieces that do exist frankly might not even fit together. Having spoken with the director I know the intention was to create a mysterious film that challenges audiences' way of thinking and not to necessarily hand out answers like girl scout cookies at a fundraiser. I think the film succeeds in this regard, but you can always see for yourself by watching the film on YouTube at the top of this page.