A Journey of Recovery – Birthday (Short Film Review)

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Roller coasters, they give the rider a extreme thrill for a few moments and then it fades away pretty quickly. The old cliche that life is something that is constantly thrown around.

So how do you back in those highs and lows that life has to offer in just 12 minutes of film? Well director Chris King manages to pull it off beautifully in his award winning short-film Birthday.

The film starts with a loving exchange over a Skype phone called between a military wife (Mandy Moody) and her marine husband (Chris Gouchoe) who are counting down the days until he turns home.

Then disaster strikes and in the next three minute montage the viewer is taken through a journey of seeing the soldier step on a land mine and his wife’s reaction to his devastating news.

Birthday

After seeing Gouchoe’s character go through his rehabilitation, the marine returns home on his birthday, and the initial unsure nature of his return to the ‘real world’ is clear to see on his face.

Through the use of montage, King shows us great ability to tell a story by using minimal dialogue. The two montages, which carry the bulk of the narrative are accompanied by an orchestral score, with the only real conversation being in the opening scene and the soldiers wife telling him about the modifications to their home.

Birthday

Birthday has already been selected for 130 film festivals, as well as winning more than 55 awards, including recently winning the Jury Award at the Oscar qualifying St. Louis International Film Festival.

Many people enjoy films for their entertainment value, others for the journey they take us on. With Birthday even thought the journey only lasts 12 minutes it is one packed full of heart, emotion and love. Giving the viewer the highs and lows of the metaphorical roller coaster.

4/5

Dir: Chirs King 
Scr: Chris King 
Cast: Mandy Moody and Chris Gouchoe
Prd: Mickey Lujan and Shannon Lujan
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Run time: 12 minutes

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