Nowadays, pretty visuals, compensating for a lack of substance, can go a long way for some shorts. One suspects there’s a hope that the short running time and a few screenshot-able moments will persuade viewers of a greater depth. Luckily, Fox and the Whale dodges this pitfall with ease, offering not only some of the most ravishing visuals you’ll see all year, but an affecting tale to go with it.
Robin Joseph, writer, producer, and seemingly every other job on this project, shows a dab hand here as he casts his net wide to tell the tale of a fox’s existential, seemingly endless search for a whale. Of course, the whale is not the true goal of the abstract orange mammal. The speechless, 12-minute run-time is meant to challenge and question viewers. There is no detail, nor any specifics to be found, and the silence, bar some tremendous field recordings from Tim Nielsen, allows the allegories to come to the fore.
It’s not far from the realms of possibilities to hear some voices question the value of the short, as Joseph’s minimalist take leaves the short missing a few expected story beats. If anything, it would have been great to see Joseph push himself further in the dream-like moments when exploring the fox’s search.
All the same, Joseph’s visual work is a treat. Every frame, every scene, every moment is luscious, vivid and gorgeous. The greens, blues, reds, yellows, greys and purples pop and excite. The sensational craft and detail embedded within each segment is a delight for which Joseph deserves endless praise. Having spent near 16 months crafting this, it’s not a surprise that it looks this good. Here’s hoping that Joseph’s next project doesn’t take as long, as we’re excited to see what this visual artist can produce next.
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DIRECTOR: Robin Joseph
PRODUCER: Robin Joseph
CHARACTER ANIMATION: Kim Leow
EDITOR: Robin Joseph
MUSIC: John Poon
SYNOPSIS: A fox goes in search of an elusive whale.