Review: Shadow

Shadow, a short film written and directed by Nicholas Goodwin (who also plays Will), shines a light on the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

Jane (Revell Carpenter) is an innocent college freshman with a crush on her calculus tutor, Allen (Kumasi Hopkins). At the behest of his friend, Will, Allen invites Jane to a party. When Allen doesn’t return her call, Jane finds herself alone with Will.

I do feel that the fact this was written and directed by a young man of college age is significant, that demographic is waking up to the severity of this problem. As is the extent to which the blame placed on the males in this situation. Allen for not protecting Jane and Will for taking advantage of her. It is clear that the viewer should not hold Jane responsible, she did nothing wrong. Going to a party, having a beer, sitting alone with a guy. These are things that women should be able to do without fear; but they can’t, any more than a woman can walk home alone at 10 pm without her phone in her hand and 911 on speed-dial.

In college, I worked in an office that ran classes in things like bystander intervention and responsible drinking. We learned about the statistics, the percentage of girls who are assaulted and parties and (perhaps more disturbingly) the guys who don’t even recognize what they have done as rape.

Some may feel that this issue is getting too much coverage, we don’t need another film about it, that’s impossible. It will never get better if schools continue to sweep it under the rug and women are still too afraid to speak out for fear being blamed.

While it’s nowhere near bad as is, Shadow functions better as a proof of concept for a sustained project than it does as a standalone short. 12 minutes is simply too brief a time to build the necessary emotional connections to the characters. Of course, I feel for Jane as I do for any woman who comes forward with her story but no more so than I would reading about it on Twitter. I don’t know her.

Everyone involved in this production is seeming very new to the industry and because of that, I am willing to forgive what I would otherwise see as egregious errors. They often misjudge the height of reverse shots, and the lighting in many scenes is flat. I also feel the color grading is a bit inconsistent and at times too soft, though that’s a matter of personal preference and artistic impression.

There are no standout performances, either good or bad, noteworthy as new actors often overextend to the point of absurdity. They were all realistic, which is essential due to the subject matter at hand.

This film is not yet available to the public but when it is we’ll add a link below. It is worth of seeing and talking about.

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