Simon Hardwick, Donald Standen, Cameron Prudames, Steve McTigue, Ella Busow
Chris Cronin, Paul Thomas
"Sophie's Fortune" Worth Its Weight in Gold
A children's party turned Indiana Jones style adventure is what you can expect from Chris Cronin's rambunctious and immensely fun 29 minute short film Sophie's Fortune, a marvelously realized film with vibrant colors and 80's style action that brings to mind such 80's fare as the Indiana Jones films and The Goonies.
Sophie's Fortune, an ultra-low budget indie short, far transcends what you'd expect it to accomplish mostly because Cronin excels at knowing when to amp up the action, when to pull a slo-mo shot, and precisely how to shoot his film so that the admittedly modest special effects have maximum effect. In the film, Brendan (Simon Hardwick) shows up at a children's party with his niece Sophie (Ella Busow), an obviously dejected young girl whose father hasn't shown up for what was obviously intended to be a father/daughter outing. Unfortunately, Brendan and Sophie show up late with nearly all the sweets already eaten and the games already played.
There's only one thing left - a treasure hunt for the fathers.
Brendan is determined to not let Sophie go home empty-handed and immediately enters the hunt which, as he'll quickly learn, is taken a lot more seriously than you could ever imagine.
One can only assume that Cronin has a pretty fine network of film industy friends, because the look, feel, and sound of Sophie's Fortune is top notch throughout with D.P. Sam Cronin giving the film vibrant and spirited imagery and Carlos Rubio's original music giving the film that true Indiana Jones vibe throughout. Pawel Pracz edits the film quite wisely throughout, no small task on a small budget, and gives the film a nice mix of quick cuts and slo-mos. Kudos must also be given to the film's sound mix team and visual effects squad because, it simply can't be said enough, this film's special effects are more convincing than the last three M. Night films combined (Okay, admittedly that's not actually saying much).
Filmed at Rivington Castle in Rivington, Lancashire, England, Sophie's Fortune also works because the ensemble cast clearly gets the vibe that Cronin is going for and they run it consistently. Hardwick makes for a winning humble hero, but he's surrounded by a delightful cast that makes this film one of the better family friendly shorts I've seen recently.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic