The Stile_2.jpg

The Stile

3.55
Average: 3.6 (14 votes)
The Star-Crossed Lovers Movie
Christchurch > 03
We decided to tackle the star-crossed lovers in a less than typical fashion, dealing with rather grim themes and questioning the value of paths we choose for ourselves in the face of our timelines being set. In "The Stile", a young woman takes extreme measures to meet with her greatest desire and convince him that they can be together. Made the CHCH 25 shortlist. Nominated for "Best Use of Genre". More insight into our thinking behind this film is in this thread: https://www.48hours.co.nz/forum/general-discussion/promote-yourself-and-your-film/

Great acting by the lead.
The team shot lowered the tone a bit.
Loved the twist at the end.

Expected something completely different based on the team intro - maybe the contrast here was too much?
Well shot and acting was on point....took me a little while to work out who each character was and what their angle was....these can be tricky themes to play with and requires really thoughtful writing. Maybe could have used a flashback or other supplement to help drive the narrative home.
Well done guys - very swish.

Man this was brave, I'm loving these films that choose to tackle head on real world issues. It was well written, left me questioning for most of the film who the girl was talking to, I'm glad you didn't reveal death in full focus. Regardless of how this film does in the competition, be proud knowing that you've created something that truly does have potential to inspire or encourage a person who may struggle with mental health similar to this.

My only suggestion for improvement that I noticed was the voice of death, it seemed like you wanted death to be quite mysterious and abstract, modifying the voice to be lower in tone, and more echoey would have probably brought that character more to life.

squire
4.06

I must admit that it wasn't until the second viewing that I realized Beth was talking to Death. And that certainly changes the film!
This wasn't helped by him having such a young voice, and his dark blue jacket. Maybe black and long (esp since he's out of focus)?
(Having a tattered robe, skull face & scythe would change the whole feel.)

Well shot. Well done, Beth. You have a star there for your Everything Sticks stable.

I found this film extremely unsettling, but no doubt that was part of the idea. By far this film's strongest aspect is the cinematography; never before have I seen camerawork so expertly tunnel-visioned onto the sheer anger, sadness, and guilt of a single face. The high focal length that stayed consistent throughout had a tendency to lift shots into the abstract; and it was here that I found the film the most powerful. The flat white sky, filmed with no horizon or land to draw a reference, indeed appears as though the character is floating through 'the light'.

Beth Walsh's performance was indeed on point and entirely convincing. The makeup and colour grading really brought out her distress. I don't quite understand why Death was cast as a kid, but I'm sure it fits into something.

I'd say that the film's weakest point is the sound. The deep, constant rumble was well-placed and lifted the tone immensely, however it lacked any dynamic qualities, and its fading in/out and mixing came across as rather careless for such a dramatic element. The dialogue had a bit of audible background noise but outside of that it was crisp and tight.

An instant classic.

Alexander Jones
city manager

Very cool. Definitely the all around best film Everything Sticks has ever produced, which is great to see a measurable increase in quality. This was very close to making the finals, and as I've pointed out in reviews for other films from the shortlist that didn't make the cut, it's not so much an indictment on your film as it is a statement about just how bloody good the top 15 are this year.

The cinematography was what stuck out to me the most, some really nice work here with great wide shots and almost intrusive close ups which phase in and out of focus like some kind of dream.

The concept of this film also really hit me- a very dark and heavy interpretation of the Star-Crossed Lovers genre, and not one I was expecting- though I'm not sure if unrequited love quite fits the brief, as death does not love the girl back, or at least not yet.

There are a couple of story beats I didn't quite understand or follow, but I kind of don't mind this as it plays into the fever dreamy nature of it all.

The acting from the lead is really good and really committed. As others have pointed out, I'm not sure how I feel about the Death character being so clearly a child, but a good decision to not actually see the character in focus. I guess this would have also been a symptom of doing Ultra, as both characters are under 18- although isn't Death technically immortal? Or is he outside of age, neither qualifying for ultra nor disqualifying this film from Ultra?

On the subject of Ultra, while I like that this film shows the dynamic nature of the Ultra rule this year in that the characters are under 18 and this didn't horribly impede the film, it doesn't exactly embrace it either, as both characters could have been played by adults and it would have been more or less the same. This isn't so much a wrap on the knuckles, I just would have been interested to see what Everything Sticks could pull off by trying to tell a child's story.

As for your title, I didn't actually know what a stile was, but now that I do I can see how it fits. Or how it sticks. Everything sticks. Everything's sticks.

Cool film!
I couldn't think of 13 reasons why I liked this film, but here are 6:
-Taylors Mistake
-Strong performance from the lead.
-Good use of focus
-The noise of the ocean in the background.
-Clear dialogue
-Reminded me of the Seventh Seal, which reminded me of Last Action Hero where the character from the Seventh Seal appears, which then reminded me of the scene in Last Action Hero where the mini-gun and 50cal machine guns on the helicopter shoot the elevator and windows on the building where the funeral is taking place.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwTf9WurF4U
Thanks Stu, my favourite one of yours yet.
Was just waiting for them to pull out a chess set.

Technically slick harrowing examination of inner turmoil that had me feeling very uneasy through bloody well-used handheld camerawork and an aurally sinister soundtrack. The lead actress sold the material with immense value showing terrific emotion through her eyes regarding the relationship that she thought was the one most pursuing, with the film being incredibly subversive. Wide open in scope utilising the rolling hills of Canterbury yet intimate in subject matter with a mature hand for framing both the action on screen and development of this slice of life/death.

I loved that the film came in late to proceedings and piqued my curiousity with a refusal to reveal the other party's identity, making the conclusion all the more satisfying. Depth of field was on point with literally only a couple of moments where the camera could have been improved. My only minor gripes with the film were that perhaps it was legitmately too subversive of the genre; it had a strong script and the star-crossing of the two was certainly a unique take but the 'lovers' point point could have been argued plus the audio peaked a couple of times. Overall very well done!

Really like the take on the genre. Anything related to self-harm can feel grossly gimmicky in 48, but the out-of-reality setting and nightmarish vibe keeps the subject matter grounded and authentic.

The lead was good, her face conveying more anguish than her line delivery did, and for a mostly-one-location film, the cinematography and audible atmosphere did a hell of a lot to deliver a moody sense of limbo.

The big thing that held this film back for me was the other actor. The film does a great job making this looming character feel uncomfortably ominous, but the vocal performance just doesn't match that. He sounds like an everyday teenager, which takes a lot away from how the character was set up.

Regardless, the vague ending is strong and gives you enough to work with without over-explaining itself.

I tried briefly to review this film right after the heats but gave up almost immediately,
I needed to see it a second time,

Side tangent, when you do a serious film for 48hours, (especially during the heats) it’s hard for the audience to ‘get’ the film right away. we’re all so primed for careless, silly, low budget, comedy, and in most importantly, ‘ immediately accessable’ films.

This film is almost none of these things. Which is good and welcome.

Ok so now I’ve defended my late review - but also that call out on the radio show was just the kick in the pants that i needed ;)
First time I watched it, I didnt get it, second time, it all played a lot more clearly.

Because I suck at writing nicely thought out reviews. Ill just go to a list of things.

- It’s a really cool take on Star Crossed Lovers.

- I like the over all style, It’s poetic and as such it fits its runtime better than most 48hours films. (While most 48hours films, and just short films in general feel like they are pilots for feature film ideas. Or just very conventional formats, this one captures an idea, or a concept and focuses on that in the under 5minute runtime that it has to serve) - I wish this could be said of every single 48hours film.

- The imagery of the film (the location) - is also nicely poetic and lends a lot to the film and ideas at play

- the themes and ideas being discussed in this film are powerful and difficult to grapple with - this ends up being both something I really like about the film, but also where all of my issues with the film stand, but even this is a success of the film. My issues are with the ideas being presented, Not the story being told. I’m putting this in the ‘win’ column because if the film can generate thoughts and ideas outside of its own runtime that is a good thing. Most of my issues here are arround the presentation of free will, (i continued writing from here going further and further down the rabbit hole, so i put on the film again, and now i think i understand it even better...

- so the film isn’t immediately accessible. I think i get the whole film now, and I’m looking forward to discussing it with Stu. But yeah, its a hard one to understand, which is both a good thing and a bad thing...

- I like death as a child, to me it is that way because she has a child’s view of death, and a child’s view of suicide. (Much of this is about attempted suicide/self harm as a cry for attention right?)

- I like the intent behind the cinematography, but i don’t like the way its been pulled off here. I like the extreme closeups, I like that the ‘lover’ is always out of focus. But i cant help but feel that every single shot should have been locked off. So that we might have been better able to study the face of the character. And be more drawn into their experience. The style of hand held here reminded me all too often that there was someone filming the scene,

- I also really liked the drone of the sea that is used to dominate the soundtrack it’s a nice shortcut to presenting this as an ‘other’ place - however as noted by other reviews when you can hear the chance in background audio each time a character speaks it’s extremely distracting and doesn’t help with the immersion that this film needs.

RiverFelix
4.06

The thing I really liked about this film was how powerful it's opening shot was. The shooting in general was really pretty slick and worked well with the intensity of the subject matter. The lead actress pulled off a stellar performance here, both in the line delivery and in the desperation she was able to convey on her face. Unfortunately I can't say the same for her co-star, his voice lacked the intensity and tone for the kind of dialogue he was given. You don't have to sound like Morgan Freeman to read this stuff but I think you have to do more than read it in a sort of bland wooden way. I'm also unsure about the sort of wind noise they decided to slap in the background, I think they could have made a better choice for that as I couldn't help but think that the film called for a dramatic film score. Given the film was only 4 minutes I think they could've played out the ending a bit more but I think it still works as is. I do understand the rave reviews that this is getting but these are my thoughts.

I purposely haven't read the other reviews before I've typed this as like to write then go back and see if others have picked up on similar things.
Nice opening with the sound only option which made the cut to the actress impactful, great way to grab my attention from the get go. Then a clever use of the silent pause while the camera lingered on the wide shot of the two actors before the dialogue starts this added to the mood you were creating. The use of the hand held camera, pan up and slightly canter angles also added to the atmosphere of the film. I would have liked to see perhaps a different color grading, maybe more of a washed out look which may have been a nice addition? The acting from the lead was strong and played her part really well and was believable and i was able to connect with her. I liked the script but would have liked to have known a few of the unanswered questions like, why was her drive so powerful to meet, what was his backstory etc, but I presume you wanted these unanswered and this was you intention. Overall the editing/sound and the camera work was tight and effective. I did find that the males voice didn't quite resonate with me, I personally would have preferred if he had more emotion and instead of being cold and staid in his delivery (possibly another stylistic choice?) This would have enable me to connect with both of them on a more emotional level and then the ending which was great would have had more impact. I did like the full circle narrative which tied up the film and surprised me which was effective and nicely done.

Ok, I've read the other reviews now I clearly didn't pick up that the other actor was death, sorry! Because of the genre I was under the impression that he was her lover/boyfriend who had passed over and was in someway the gatekeeper to her crossing over, hence star crossed lovers. Hope my interpretation now makes my comments make sense, look forward to catching up with Stu and team at the finals to discuss more :)

Rastinha
5.04

I really like it when teams make serious movies. Film as a vehicle for social commentary is, I think, really important and powerful. It's even more so when you have to work out how to get people thinking about the heart of the issues in the film in 5 mins, and with only 48 hours to make it. With that in mind, I think you guys have done a great job! I didn't quite get that the other character was death until towards the end, although I understood the concept of the stile, perhaps it was to do with the actor being young? Perhaps not. It's hard to say, but I wonder how you would have cast it if you hadn't been doing ultra and had to have children? Obviously just a thought exercise since you had no actual choice in the matter :)

As the others have said the sharp audio transitions were a bit jarring, and I found the close ups quite intense for how many there were, but maybe that's a good thing, I'm forced to look at her and feel uncomfortable about it for the duration of the film. Really well done :)

A grim tale of star crossed lovers. One of those films where you think you know where it's going and you hope you're wrong. Shakey camera and shallow depth of field are often overused, but here they work well to help tell the story. Quite a change in tone if you're expecting "The Shirt: 3", so kudos to this team for taking some risks.

Taunise
4.06

While I found the twist in this film fairly predictible from the setup, I was very impressed with the idea. For this film to have come out of the star-crossed lovers genre was truly a good shake-up and the sort of thing teams should be doing with their allocated genres.