BAFTA SHORT THE OUT: Substance Abuse, a Tragic Blight

A film review by Sonya McCloud

Writer and director Harry Brandrick’s THE OUT tells a difficult, but important, story about addiction and it’s grasp on families. Brandrick has brought a personal experience of substance abuse to the screen; his father a heroin addict with stints in and out of prison has left a lasting memory. This gives Brandrick a very personal, and realistic, lens to tell this story through.

The script, I feel, has been kept very basic, so that the core message of an ex-convict, surviving day-to-day, trying very hard to mend relationships, whilst at the same time reconciling with drug addiction gets through. It is Brandrick’s ability to tell a simple story in a way that maintains poignancy that sets him apart from other filmmakers.

Its simplicity is the most appealing point of the film, there is no outright drama. The film opens a window on the tolerance of ordinary people and their willingness to help; it also spotlights that relationships, and their longevity, is a work in progress that requires both individuals to participate with a positive attitude and desire to grow.

The cinematography by Kia Fern-Little gives depth to the nondescript housing estate; the colours are strong and vivid. This colour, in a peculiar way are the rainbow that things will get better. Throughout the film, the cinematography breathes a life into a rather dreary and difficult subject and setting. THE OUT delivers an unflinching lens on addiction and its long lasting effects while reminding viewers that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel for those effected by addiction.

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