'Positive' by Dystography Studios

Film name: 
Positive
Genre: 
Mystery
Heat: 
Awards: 
Average rating: 
3.433335
Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (9 votes)
Comment from team: 
Hello! Thank you so much for coming here to review our film, we hope you enjoyed it. We have gone by many names (Speakerdip Productions etc.) in the past for both reasons good and bad, but expect to see us back in future years under this name permanently. We'd always love to hear your honest opinion and hope we can continue our path on improving every year with your help and advise.
3.01

A guy is asked to take the rubbish out by his girlfriend, but as he is going out the door the bag splits and something falls out. The guy looks down at the item, and we match-cut forward in time. The film then plays backwards for the majority of it's runtime, as we work our way back to uncover the mystery of what the item is, uncovering information along the way.

From what I could tell in the reverse motion, there was some nice acting from all in this film. The cinematography was nice, with some unique shot choices scattered throughout. The music chosen for the short also fitted the mood perfectly.

As nice as all that was though, I just couldn't get on board with this film. I'm sure the scenes and shots played out completely fine at normal speed, but the flaw with playing them backwards is that as soon as the audience gets the gist of what's going on, it's just a waiting game to get back to the rubbish bag as not a lot of vital information was gained along the way. The other downside of reverse-motion is that the more subtle shots felt super long. I felt like all of this could've been fixed simply by sharpening up the edit a lot more though.

What also let this down was the fact the story was incredibly thin. Very quickly the audience knew what was going on, even if we didn't know what the object in the rubbish was. When we finally found out what the item was, it wasn't so much a big reveal as it was an "Oh, okay".

A nice attempt to spin a tricky genre, but sadly style completely won out over substance in this one.

6.02

This film is a gimmick. However, it is an extremely well executed gimmick. Dystography studios tell the majority of the film in reverse, which serves the purpose of taking a simple story and manufacturing mystery from it. They manage to keep the reverse gimmick interesting throughout by including interesting action (drinking from a bottle, smashing glass, etc). They also manage to keep on top of the backwards narrative beats, evoking audience responses at all the right times. If the concept of this film's gimmick does not bother you, there is very little else that will, because this movie's execution is fantastic. The acting is brilliant, the cinematography is solid and the editing serves its purpose well. Overall, it is another great job by these guys. It is definitely worth the watch, especially to see Dystography branch out from their comedy roots. Keep up the good work guys!

5.04

Really enjoyed this movie. Great expressions from the lead. Keep me interested through out.

4.06

An at first unseen object from a broken rubbish bag is the catalyst for a critical moment in a young couple's relationship.

So, this is very cool idea that has been executed pretty well. Showing the effect before the cause is something I personally love to see in films. Initially the slo-mo reverse effect really intrigued the audience and held our attention. However, the longer it went the more tedious it unfortunately became and I just wanted to get to the point. Acting was good, it looked & sounded good and at the ending a lot of audience had a big "Ah-ha" moment. I can't help but wonder where the mystery was with this story though. Certainly the audience were somewhat in the dark due to the visuals but within the actual story and with the characters there was no actual mystery. If your genre had been Drama, you would have nailed it.

A popular film within the heat and it could easily be part of the finals, so well done! Finally, welcome Dystography Studios to the regular awesomeness of "CHCH Heat 3" from your previous battles as SpeakerDip in the typically high-powered final heat from this region!

7

Incredible, incredible... incredible.

5.04

What I liked: The Concept, simple enough but these guys really pulled it off, with a pitch perfect music selection and cleaver onscreen action that made the most of the the reverse slow-motion. this film was a stand out from the night. I'm sad that these guys have changed names from Speakerdip Productions as they where a key part of what made last years heat 8 so strong. Great performances from everyone (nice surprise seeing Jess) the team behind this short are one to watch. last year they also took a simple concept and made a great short film out of it. a cleaver way to approach your genre.

What to work on for next year: I would encourage you all to continue making short films between now and next year hone those skills and you will fast become one of Christchurch's best teams. In my review of your short last year I think I commented that the visuals and technical aspects could be improved upon, Its great to see that this has been done for this year, unfortunately the storytelling that made last years so good wasn't as present this year. I don't think this film has quite the rewatchability that last years did. This film stands strong on its first viewing but a second viewing will only show up how simple the story is.

City Finalist: You bet! Despite my comments above I am excited to see this film again knowing what to expect.

2.03

I didn't love this film and I don't really get the hype. First off, the good...
The music was great... it worked with the film awesomely.
It was well shot and the slow motion looked great and done properly.
However, it was very gimmicky... it screamed like it was baiting to be in the finals and it didn't feel 100% authentic to me.
The storyline was paper thin and the gimmick of playing in reverse wore thin before the halfway point.
I look forward to future efforts by this team though. Everything was there to produce a great film but this year it didn't really hit it out of the park for me.

6.02

I can't believe that score was original! So good!

And the rest of the film is spectacular also, I loved that you based it all around the one "Oh really" line, and the action scenes were really well choreographed too.

The coolest thing about this film is that it is fully true to it's genre (mystery) as it kept me guessing and slowly piecing together what could be happening, why these people were fighting, what Harper had seen in the trash.

Well done guys!

5.04

This film's big trick works really damn well for the mystery genre, and it certainly kept me fixated throughout most of it. The fantastic music had a really cool, foreboding, sombre, elusive sound to it which really suited the situation.

My only big problem with this short is the first scene. Had it not been for the match cut element, it could have been cut entirely and made the whole piece tighter. As it is, the switch is tonally awkward.