Greetings again from the darkness. In this, his fourth short film, writer-director Brian Lawes doesn’t tell us everything. We don’t have the benefit of a backstory. What we do know is that two brothers are living in poverty. The kitchen walls are bare plywood, and a staple such as food is lacking. As the younger brother is mesmerized by TV, the older brother, bearing the weight of responsibility far beyond his years, doesn’t place a phone call to unseen parents, but instead heads out to scrounge up food for the two boys.
We know poverty, and especially a lack of food, creates a heightened level of desperation. The boy has thoughts of shoplifting, but is frightened off when the convenience store clerk questions him. Riding his bike through the rich side of town, the boy’s resourcefulness leads him to an opportunity. He breaks into a large house and begins stuffing his backpack with food from the pantry and fridge. Of course, what happens is what you’d expect from a naïve young boy engaging in what is likely his first criminal act. However, it’s the end result that delivers the surprise and statement filmmaker Lawes is after.
Minimal dialogue is used, yet believable suspense and full bore tension is created once the boy is trapped inside the house. Dallas’ own Dash Melrose is a young actor we need to watch. He has screen presence not typical of an actor his age. The commentary on class divide is clear in this very effective 15 minute short film.