Only the few are blessed with raw, unabashed talent that seeps through them at every given opportunity. Even fewer than that have the ability to exercise this talent, placed in position of economic and social advantage, to be able to share this talent with the world. Though when a gift is so evident, little can be done to silence it’s power, such is the story told by director Richard Raymond in his short A Million Eyes.
Protagonist Leroy (Elijah M. Cooper) exudes a playful aura of youth, dedicated wholly to his untapped talent and passion, photography. You wouldn’t be able to tell, at first, that he is the sole care provider to his alcoholic mother. His life is a lottery of ups and downs, reliant on her ability to keep the addiction at bay.
As he strays from home Leroy encounters multiple mentors, all seeing within him a talent that deserves to be nurtured. The myriad of stories, experiences and lessons he absorbs begin to shape his perception of art and life. The casting in this short film deserves recognition, it’s clear that the story withholds an agenda to subvert racial stereotypes in film. The men that take Leroy under their wing are intelligent, sensitive, talented men of colour, and it’s fantastic.
Raymond’s cinematography exudes an effortless, poetic tone, perfectly complimenting the narrative that calls for reflection and emotion. Another stand out aspect of this short is its score, composed by Chris Hyson. It is both gentle and poignant, allowing the visuals to do the talking whilst letting the music play with your emotions.
A Million Eyes is a brilliantly executed short film, the world which Raymond creates feels huge and well filled out, yet without clunky exposition or a complicated narrative. If you’re looking for an inspirational short with substance and emotion, then you’ve found it.