Crestfallen (2011) – By James Dubbeldam

Crestfallen is a 6 minute short film about a woman (Deneen Melody) who appears to take a bath- but, after flashbacks of terrible events in her life, attempts suicide. Later, through the same reoccurring flashbacks, realizes that there is still hope. We, the viewer, watch “the woman” cut her wrist in the bath while flashbacks are inter-cut of what drove her to this desperate state. We learn that the father of her child(ren) has cheated on her with one of her friends.

A very stylistic and well-shot short film, Crestfallen showcases the talents of the director Jeremiah Kipp as well as the cinematographer Dominick Sivilli. It’s professional, sexy and has the gleam of a polished big budget production.

From the start, appearing to seductively show a woman taking a bath (not holding back from the much necessary and realistic nudity) it engages the viewer. We don’t exactly know what the film is about, nor is there foreshadowing of what is going to happen. Other then the random yet frequent flashbacks. Which don’t make sense at first. But they re-occur regularly, making this film quite unique.

There’s no dialogue, no audio at all except for the score. It’s just visuals; the main story and the flashbacks are quick and precise which fill in what we are missing and what she is “thinking/feeling”. And it works.

Russ Penning has written a detailed, descriptive, innovative short film that almost needs to be watched twice. And you WANT to watch it again. Not because you’re missing something, but you want to actually know what happened. And with something smart like this, you probably need to.

Overall, it’s professional, well acted, realistic, sexy. The titles and beginning may be confusing, but with a little time invested (30 seconds maybe) you’ll be hooked. Obvious love, care and talent have gone into designing each shot, either being flashback or present-time.

The nudity, which is rare in short films (and most film in general) is quite intriguing. How do you shoot a film about a woman in a bath without showing the body here and there? It’s almost impossible and not believable without it. Good on the actor and director for taking the risk. In my opinion it wouldn’t have worked without that risk. Not to say it gratuitous; it’s necessary.

Again, Crestfallen is a professional, captivating film that is a little different then the norm and well-deserving of its praise. If you are in the mood for something short, enjoyable and different (and I mean that!) check this out. You won’t regret it.