24th Jun2020

‘Baby Mine’ Short Film Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Rachael Sterling, Alexander Siddig, Alex Ferns, Grace Taylor | Written by Shirine Best, Eleanor Emptage, Nour Wazzi | Directed by Nour Wazzi

Made over three years ago, Baby Mine seems more current in 2020 than ever before. We see a Middle Eastern man kidnap his child,while the mother opts not to call the police but ‘recruit’ her racist neighbour for help to find them.

In only a short twenty minute run time, this movie manages twist and turn and change your expectations on several occasions. At first it seems like it will head down a typical kidnap thriller-style story but with the introduction of the neighbour, things automatically become a bit different. Race then enters the story and the whole thing opens up in new and interesting ways.

This was director Nour Wazzi’z seventh short and the experience from the other six has clearly worked wonders because this is a fantastic-looking short film. I don’t mean with any big budget or special effects, it’s just extremely well made. The cinematography is great, with every camera movement and every reveal meaning something. It really feels like you’re watching something that cost a lot of money to make.

Casting three experienced actors in the main roles was a clever idea. These might not be ‘big names’ but they are actors that have featured in big and known productions and they all put in good performances. As the mother Rachael Sterling (Detectorists) goes through all the emotions – from panicked through determined and she’s believable in them all. The Father is played by Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Gotham) and his role is first seen as a villain but only because he has kidnapped his daughter – we don’t know the reasons why and when we do, the feelings towards him start to change. Could he be in the right? Siddig is perfect at playing this type of character.

While the neighbour played by Alex Ferns (Eastenders, Chernobyl) seems ideal to play the angry man (I have never really watched Eastenders but whenever I saw clips of him as Trevor he always seemed kind of angry!). He’s not a complete over-the-top and obvious racist either, which makes the character a little more interesting. He says little things so the viewer knows his prejudiced reasons for helping the mother and it is a big part of why the twists in the story work so well.

Most of the twenty minutes are very tense here but the final moments really notches things up and all those actors play a big part in why. Now is the perfect time to watch a hard-hitting short on racial tensions. With #BlackLivesMatter more important now than ever before, the colour of someone’s skin should never be a reason that they are guilty of a crime and this is played out perfectly in Baby Mine with racial stereotypes. Showing that you need to see the whole picture to make a decision, Baby Mine is a perfect short to expand into a fully fleshed out feature that I’d love to see.

**** 4/5

Baby Mine is available to watch on Omeleto now.

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