01st Dec2020

‘Officer Down’ Short Film Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Martin Delaney, Josef Altin, Ben Turner | Written by Tommy Draper, Simon Pearce | Directed by Simon Pearce

Alex Trent (Martin Delaney) is a young British Police Officer and is part of a task force that has been sent into a rundown building smack dab in the middle of Civil Riots that are dividing our fair nation. The mission is a man, they are there to capture Elijah (Ben Turner) but shortly after arriving Trent is chased down and separated from the team. Soon after he bumps into Amir (Josef Altin) who on of the face of things wants to help but can Trent put aside his personal prejudice and trust Amir or is Amir exactly the sort of person he was sent in to get.

Officer Down is a perfect 18-minute snapshot of the British social conscious. Whether it’s how people are being portrayed in mass media or a persons own thought process and beliefs. While the the creative team have made the choice to not specifically set the riots against any cause (a very good choice), as a Brit it is painfully obvious what this short is doing. However with expert precision the short flips the normal script on its head and runs down another route only to then flip it again making this a tense as hell situation in which you feel like anything could happen and either way it goes your not going to know how to feel because in eighteen minutes you begin to care for our core cast that you know nothing about. That’s rare!

We have three main leads with Martin Delaney (Catch 22) taking the role of Alex Trent. Delaney is someone I have mostly seen doing comedy and he is superb in that realm BUT for me he smashed this short and I honestly felt that, given a chance and some time, we could be looking at a new action star. He had some real high-octane fight sequences here and they looked incredible (we will touch on that in a minute) and the gun-play was smooth. Josef Altin (Game of Thrones), as Amir, is a perfect juxtaposition for Trent and really embodies the lesser spoken about opposite side of the coin. A character that somehow in this short period is able to change perceptions of not just the people around him but I’m willing to bet the viewer too. Ben Turner (6 Days) does a great job of making you actually side with his mission, of course you are pulled back by the realisation of his actions but for a minute he had me, that’s called quality acting people.

Now let’s get into two of my favorite elements in Officer Down, elements that for me elevated the short to another level altogether. The fight/stunt choreography is absolutely insane. The moves are brutal, the punches and kicks hit super-freaking hard and it has a hyper-real tone in all the best ways. Of course I would expect nothing less when Neil Chapelhow is behind the action, a name I keep coming across lately working on movies like Knuckledust. Then there is the cinematography of Phil Meheux who let’s be honest is a legend at this point with flicks like Casino Royale, Goldeneye and No Escape. The action is stunning slick and gritty when it needs to be and it looks flawless with some of nicest camera movement you will see in a short movie. Seriously just take a moment to admire some of these tracking shots… Superb!

Director Simon Pearce has assembled an outstanding team of cast and crew to work on Officer Down, a movie that is an important talking point on so many levels but you can also just sit back and be entertained by the “Raid” or “Gangs of London” styles that it invokes. My only real criticism would be that 18 minutes of this world wasn’t enough for me but for a nice tight self contained story it absolutely bangs.

Officer Down is on the festival trail right now so with a little search you will be able to find it somewhere and I recommend you do so. I can see this one doing really well all over the place and picking up some love. For now though it’s a recommend from us here and I’m excited to see if this will possibly serve as a proof of concept for a future feature.

****½  4.5/5

Feels weird giving a short movie a rating but it’s at the top end, I just wanted more…


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