Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow, The (Short, 2008)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Julian Richings, Alan Alderton, Lea Lawrynowicz
Directed by Rodrigo Gudino and Vincent Marcone
With “The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow”, the third short film from Rodrigo Gudino and Rue Morgue Cinema, co-directors Gudino and Marcone try a new method of storytelling that’s not been seen on the screen before: The entire film (about 5 minutes) is one single picture. The results are both beautiful and haunting.
It’s pretty hard to give a review for a film like this to be honest. Though there is a plot to speak of, getting into it at all would really spoil a lot of the enjoyment of the movie. The camera zooms and focuses on specific parts of the picture while a chill-inducing score sets the mood, and the story is revealed as it pinpoints new details every time, giving the viewer just a little more information as to what, exactly, are the facts in the case of Mister Hollow.
As experimental filmmaking, “Hollow” is a triumph for both Gudino and Marcone. As a solid narrative it is a bit on the obtuse side, but I’m sure multiple viewings would fix that. After all, there are details you won’t see the first time that the camera doesn’t even focus on that will likely tell you even more.
Though the concept sounds like it wouldn’t be able to hold up for very long, indeed they managed to make it the exact right length. They were able to do some interesting tricks with the camera and the angles to make the picture almost 3D at times, and their manipulation of space and perspective conveys more than you could think possible from a single picture. Of course, the picture does change subtly as the film goes on, which might throw you off on an initial viewing, but keeping track of those changes will also help expand the story.
Two short films, “The Eyes of Edward James” and “Demonology of Desire”, preceded “Facts”, and Gudino has proven that he’s a filmmaker who’s willing to take chances and experiment to see what works best for the story he wants to tell. “Hollow” is an achievement in that sense as he proves, when done right, you don’t even need dialogue to convey a narrative. Gudino is currently working on his first feature, a remake of the Spanish film Cut Throats Nine; I can’t wait to see how it comes out. Over the course of three shorts he’s shown some serious directing skills, and I get the feeling that once he’s got a feature under his belt, he’ll be a director we’re all going to want to watch.
4 out of 5