Beautifully shot film as a funeral for a dearly beloved dog is accidentally interrupted by a snappy little pupper from next door. Played mostly stone faced with little bits of light spread throughout, I personally loved some of the humane touches such as the older man taking a rainbow coloured umbrella to the remembrance (when my own sister died a few years ago everyone dressed up in as bright colours as possible so that personally hit quite close to the bone). And the little boy not wanting to say goodbye had this almost hitting that really hard to reach sweet spot of emotion that is so so hard to do in this comp. Possibly the best overhead shot in Wellington as well. Music sweeping and on point too, for the most part.
But I can unfortunately see why this didn't make the final. To nitpick, the camerawork was brilliant for the most part, and I totally appreciate going handheld a good amount to convey the raw emotion of the characters, however I noticed slight focus shifts as shots came into focus on a regular basis and it was honestly a little bit distracting. I mean at times it worked as it really directed focus but at other times it just seemed a slightly out of place stylistic choice. I cannot however complain about the sound which was crystal clear.
The main issue which would have slightly held this back, as obviously the judges liked it well enough for it to make the shortlist, was that the script lost its way in the final minute. Obviously you're not going to get a perfect ending in 48, but the stealing of the dog and reaction did feel like a tonal jolt. The actors did a fine job and this probably did go close to making the Wellington final, it's just yeah for me personally that wrap up left me scratching my head :(.