THE NULL SET

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9 responses to “THE NULL SET

  1. I really liked all kinds of things about this:

    * The writing. You have to establish setting, character, and plot quickly in a 21-minute movie, and we were right there on all counts in the first couple of minutes.

    You don’t worry much about plausibility in a story like this — memory transfers, etc. — why not? We’re clearly in a nether world, so normal rules of logic don’t apply. The climax, Sam’s choice, doesn’t make that much sense — would a person really make that choice? — but I felt it was okay in the context of the story.

    Sometimes it’s easy to accept illogical big points, but we can get tripped up by smaller stuff. Within the context of even an outlandish plot like this, some things have to make sense, and I was a little bothered by the fact that Tom didn’t expect, or insist on, any sort of pre-op consultation, beyond just Sam’s initial conversation with the doctor. No blood tests, really? Not even a blood-pressure reading? Just walk in with no idea about what’s going to happen exactly and then submit to electrodes on your head? (You’d really have to almost cut in a whole other scene to get all that in, though, and that would mean pacing problems, so there’s no easy solution, except maybe to not worry about it.) Also, for all kinds of reasons, Tom should have bolted almost immediately from the doctor’s office, and the explanation for why he didn’t lies in his motivation for putting up with all this. Was the motivation strong enough? We believe from the outset (at least I did) that he was cheating on Sam, so it’s a little hard for me to believe he was willing to submit to this procedure for her. Still, for a plot like this, if those were the only points of logic that bothered me — well done!

    I love how the plot careens right along like a runaway train, with the smooth buildup to the climax.

    I like that the writing kept me guessing through the memory-body transfer. I thought I had the plotline pegged right from the get-go, that Tom would come back from the doctor’s office with the wrong memory erased — he would remember the old girlfriend and forget Sam. I was delighted to find out that I was wrong.

    * The set design. So evocative, both he exteriors and interiors. The OR looked like Young Frankenstein, and that bolt of humor really added to the mix of this story for me. I sat there and thought, This is really delightful!

    * The sound design. A good one to watch with headphones, so you can catch such delectable drop-ins as the door creaking when the doctor closes it after entering to talk with Tom. And the forbidding thrum of the music score throughout. I did think the closing song faded in a little soon, and the mix seemed a little strong to me, got a little hard to hear the closing dialogue over the music bed.

    * The cinematography. Very nice match with the sound design and music score. I loved the establishing shots of the buildings, and the shot with the elevated train — tricky exposure situation, I imagine, nicely done!

    * Acting. It’s great to see such professional work in a short.

    * Thoughts on directing and editing. I didn’t notice the editing, which to me is a good sign. When I consciously forced myself to notice it, all the cuts really made sense. Small item: when the cop is arresting Mendez, he holsters his pistol way before putting the cuffs on, and I thought a cop would be more careful in that situation. Again, small logic items can stand out even on a high-concept script canvas.

    My machine crashed while Tom was talking to the doc and I couldn’t wait for it to boot up again so I could jump back into the story. (Thought for a second that maybe my machine crashing was part of the movie, but I guess we’re not that far into the future.)

    I really liked this — thank you!

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