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The Independent Critic

Tim Bettsworth, Rod Glenn, Peter Prentice, and Andrew Candish
David Javid Zaidov
15 Mins.

 "Outside" Explores 1912 British Antarctic Expedition 
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A London Film School production written and directed by David Javid Zaidov, Outside is a short retelling of the final days of the British Antarctic Expedition in 1912. Led by Captain Scott (Rod Glenn), Titus Oates (Tim Bettsworth), Birdie Bowers (Andrew Candish) and Dr. Wilson (Peter Prentice) have reached the Antarctic flats but are miles away from help and running low on food and supplies. Even worse, Oates is frostbitten with an injury that continues to prove detrimental to the team's advance. With temperatures dropping, Oates must decide whether to carry on or find another way to save the expedition. 

In a mere 15 minutes, Zaidov tells a meaningful story that explores both the vastness and overwhelming nature of the mission at hand coupled with the irrevocable relationships that must be developed between those who would choose to participate in such a mission. There is an intimacy that one might not expect in Outside, a film shot on the mountain flats of Hardangervidda, Norway, an area that may lack some of the Antarctic harshness but is no less barren and intimidating. 

Outside had its world premiere at the BAFTA qualifying Underwire Film Festival in London, attracting enough attention that one hopes it will acquire a significant film festival presence. The film's success depends on the nearly unspoken camaraderie between Zaidov's cast, a camaraderie that may not necessarily replicate that of those on the actual expedition but does invite the audience into a world where lives are dependent upon relationships, roles and, when it comes down to it, responsibility for one another. 

The ensemble cast, communicating mostly through the physical language rather than oral communication, is mesmerizing to watch as each member of the expedition begins to understand the harrowing risks of continuing "as is." Bettsworth's performance, by nature of being at the center of the internal and external conflict, is most compelling as he wrestles with a body that is betraying his objectives and his responsibility to the others. Bettsworth's performance is filled with both a sense of vulnerability and dread and is contrasted by a growing chasm between the others. 

Jackie Teboul's lensing is captivating in that it captures both the vastness of the flats while never losing sight of the importance of those who've embarked on this unfathomable expedition. Andrea Boccadoro's original music companions the film with stark, aching notes that envelope Nia Fausset's jarringly slight production design that serves as a constant reminder of these men who, at times, appear to be nothing more than dust amidst the vastness. 

For more information on Outside, be sure to visit the film's Facebook page and watch for additional upcoming festival screening dates.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic