Shannon: Today we have another short film to bring to you, What Jack Built. This suspenseful short film stars Timothy J Cox as he plays Jack, who is building something in his cellar. What is it? That is the question.
David, what were your first thoughts after watching this?
David: I really liked the setup of the film. There is almost nothing said (if anything) in the film. This leads to the music largely carrying the tone of the film, which has mixed results throughout. Timothy J. Cox gives a tremendous performance as the only person shown on screen, allowing us to traverse a variety of emotions just by looking at his face.
It’s the way a short should work - it tells a story, without having to spit all the details in your face. I thought it was very well done overall.
Let me single out one thing first before expanding on a few others: the camerawork was really good in this film. We, as viewers, are treated to lots of different angles - sometimes viewing downward, sometimes upwards. We also see a lot of Cox’s face, which further expands his ability to act. The camera also does a really good job of portraying movement and expanding the space that we see Jack. Even though he is just in his basement, the camera moving steadily gives the feel that the space is much larger than it probably was. This extends to his final creation, as well as the surrounding clearing.
Shannon, did the camera play a part in your thoughts at all?
Shannon: I don’t think I noticed much of the camera work. The music and the acting were what really jumped out at me for What Jack Built. I feel like the music really added to the anticipation for what was being built. For an actor to be the only person on screen and to have no dialogue, I was still able to feel the suspense of it all and see the film progress at a nice pace. I agree with you when you say that Mr. Cox had a tremendous performance.
What did you think about the sound effects? When there was no music playing, or even when there was, I thought the sound effects were perfect throughout.
David: I thought that the sound was indeed a stand out in the film as well. After having just watched a film about the ability of a good sound editor to change the feel of a film (Berberian Sound Studio), it was really apparent how well the effects were handled in this film. From the different tools, to just the sound of Jack’s shoes hitting the ground, there was a job well done there that should be commended, even if it just in our post.
I agree and disagree about the music. I feel like a bit more restraint could have been shown in regards to the different tonal/techno sounds that were used. It may be a personal choice, but for me the music worked about half of the time. The times it was used correctly truly heightened the experience (see the end scene). Other parts had the music be a bit overwhelming, and it distracted from what was on the screen at the time.
Am I alone in this?
Shannon: Yeah I think you are alone (between the two of us anyway). Since there was no dialogue I needed the music I think.
Since you took all the words I wanted to say, I’m gonna leave it here with my rating of “Loved It.” I’d still like to know what he was trying to catch with the contraption though.
David: Ah the beauty of short films - leaving you wanting more. I’m giving it a solid “A”. Thanks for reading everyone!
David and Shannon write about movies.