Nicholas Denton, Eva Seymour, Kaarin Fairfax, Ryan A. Murphy, Neil Pigot, Julie Nihill, Arielle Thomas, and Charles Berthoud
Ryan A. Murphy
"Pillars" a Stellar Short Film from Australia
In 2013, Patch Adams Productions co-founders Arielle Thomas and Nicholas Denton combined forces to create one of Australia's up-and-coming production companies, a unique voice that has grown into a collective of like-minded artists committed to top tier creative expression.
Pillars, their latest short film, is an immensely engaging and emotionally honest film that explores, with simplicity yet authenticity, what happens when tragedy strikes a small coastal town and those left behind to deal with the tragedy must decide to either pick up the pieces and confront their own misgivings or allow the tragic cycle to continue.
Directed by Ryan A. Murphy and written by Nicholas Denton, who also stars in the film, Pillars is the kind of film that leaves you sort of verklempt as you watch the story unfold. It's no small task to make an audience care about characters within the span of your usual short film, but such is what happens in the 17-minute Pillars. Denton has penned a film that works beautifully as a short film, yet also feels like it could easily be expanded into a feature-length effort. The film's two key characters, Denton's Kieran and Eva Seymour's Tilly, are utterly compelling and it doesn't take long until everything that unfolds for them keeps your eyes glued to the screen and emotionally raw.
Seymour does a marvelous job of creating a sympathetic character, a young woman whose presence is deeply felt and so completely real that everything that unfolds feels even more impactful. As Kieran, Denton is perhaps more impacted than anyone in the coastal town by what unfolds yet is given very little room for his humanity. Denton portrays this conflict realistically, a tightly wound ball of anxiety and anger and just about every stage that Kubler-Ross could think of. Denton's is a less emotionally resonant performance, yet it's a performance that demands to be less emotionally resonant. It's sublime.
In a supporting role, kudos must be given to Kaarin Fairfax for her performance as Rosetta. Fairfax's scenes toward film's end are filled with quiet dignity and painful grace, lines delivered with such disciplined magnificence that they don't just feel real they are real. Ryan A. Murphy, while given less to do here, also deserves mention as the far angrier and far more willing to express it Rushie.
Pillars is still early in its festival run, though a positive screening in Australia's Flickerfest should be an indicator that the film's strong production values, stellar performances and powerful story will resonate with audiences. Thom Neal's lensing is top notch, while original music from George Farrar and Oliver Whitehead also contribute to the film's success.
For more information on Pillars, visit the film's website linked to in the credits and, most certainly, if the film arrives at a festival near you then you definitely don't want to miss it.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic