It’s not often that we see an entire film captured as one continuous shot, let alone by a drone. But it’s likely that it’s something we’re going to be seeing a lot more of going forward. The beautiful tracking shots utilised by Paul Trillo in At the End of the Cul-de-Sac create a swooping, exhilarating, and entirely tense viewing experience. If this short film is anything to go by, it’s a style that is massively underused.
Opening on a quiet, minimalistic cul-de-sac, the tension is already ramped with the eerie, atonal noises in the background. It’s all very Stepford, and indicative of the tone of the rest of the film – amazingly subtle, and entirely understated. But from this quiet opening the action quickly develops, and what seems like a completely normal street quickly descends into refined chaos.
It’s here that we get to the meat of the film: a fascinating study of the total apathy of the middle-class residential community. What starts as something relatively commonplace becomes a damning statement on social behaviour. A man’s suffering becomes a repugnant spectator sport, his audience idly watching on in morbid fascination, judging without any background knowledge of the situation.
The triumph of the film is that Trillo’s social commentary creeps up on you without you even noticing. The real art is in the subtle exchanges, and the scrupulously arranged disorder. In one particularly poignant moment a man films the unfolding drama on his phone – a picture of complete disengagement and apathy.
Within seconds it is plain to see that At the End of the Cul-de-Sac is a labour of love: every movement, word and prop has clearly been meticulously placed and planned out. The result is smart, cutting, and an entirely riveting commentary on social disintegration. Trillo is definitely one to watch.
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CAST: Gabe Fazio, Lynn Berg, Hadley Boyd, Jordan Reeves
DIRECTOR: Paul Trillo
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gregory Wilson
SYNOPSIS: In one continuous shot, a man has a public meltdown in the middle of a residential cul-de-sac.