06th Jul2021

‘New Woman’ Short Film Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Rhiannon Morgan, Stephen Oates | Written by C.H Newell | Directed by Benjamin Noah

Since hooking up with the Romford Film Festival I have seriously had my eyes opened to the real potential of short movies and the performances and artistry on show. These creators only have 15 to 20 minutes to tell their story, build their universe leave the audience feeling wholly satisfied yet wanting more. It’s a difficult balancing act when you only have so long to do it and in the two years I have spent with the festival I could probably count on one hand the ones I would personally deem PERFECT!

New Woman sits on one of those five fingers for me… I have never really been huge on the Gothic Horror/Thriller genre, well unless you count Tim Burton and believe me when I say I don’t count Tim Burton. However New Woman transcends the genre and in many ways transcends its own short film limits.

New Woman is the story of a lowly pickpocket set way back in 1888. We meet him on a night when he has inadvertently happened upon a strikingly beautiful dark and mysterious woman. She offers the man shelter from the impending storm and what started as gesture of kindness soon descends into a night of terror as we dive into the unknown.

20 minutes… That’s the runtime of this short and often when you only have 20 minutes things can feel a tad rushed, sloppy and just not very tight (that was three different ways to get one point across). However Benjamin Noah teaches us an absolute masterclass with this short by not wasting a single frame and making every second worth your time. Seriously New Woman just looks beautiful shot for shot for shot… and I’m already on record as saying you could grab a frame from this short and stick it on your wall. The score too is just another layer of atmospheric excellence. Remember when people used to buy soundtracks on vinyl (I guess some still do but most of those guys have man buns and eat hummus with carrot sticks) this is the sort of score that would sound great on vinyl.

Now… Rhiannon Morgan… The casting of “The Woman” was critical here because dialogue is sparse and needed to be delivered with epic grandeur and subtlety, otherwise the performance could be lost in the scene. Morgan brings this crazy otherworldly performance to her role that is so rare these days, the kind of performance reserved for the traditional golden age leading ladies of times gone by. I was hugely impressed with this actress front and centre being able to portray a lifetime of stories with such ease and confidence. Write the name Rhiannon Morgan down folks because I have a feeling we will be seeing her break out soon.

All in all I know that reviewing shorts is not something we regularly do over here but it’s hard not to pivot into that world when one comes along that is better than most feature films out there. I would love to see more of this world and really dive into this character but honestly Noah has created more than a short here, New Woman is a real piece of art and I want people to check it out when you get a chance. I guarantee no regrets on this one.

Also did I mention how great Rhiannon Morgan is?


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