“A relationship is like a shark – it has to move forward or it dies.” ~Woody Allen
DEAD SHARKS takes a rather bleak look at relationships (or a look at bleak relationships?) in a nicely wrapped short film format. Roughly 15 ½ minutes was PLENTY of time to remind me of exes and disavow me of the notion of ever dating again. (Kidding! Kinda…) It looks particularly at stagnant relationships and how different people react to being in one.
We start with Paige (doing everything that goes against the Dating Rulebook 101) repeatedly calling a guy from her trivia group that she’s slept with and leaving increasingly frustrated, sad, then angry messages. She calls so often her phone dies and apparently can’t go more than a couple of minutes without checking her phone, then calling him again. Anyone who’s been in the “will they or won’t they call?” sitch will identify. So will anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a relentless pursuer. It was uncomfortable to watch. Next up we have a couple (that I’m guessing are also in the trivia group?), having an awkward breakup on a bridge. You know the kind – the one where the person trying to end things won’t just say what they want to say and make things worse by trying to make things better. Then there’s a couple out for a pleasant dinner (the guy is DEFINITELY in the trivia group as Paige mentioned him a few times in her 800 thousand messages), who fight over nothing at all; and end with the guy Paige slept with having a nice anniversary dinner with his girlfriend, whom he’s just asked to move in with him. Unfortunately, his phone keeps going off the whole dinner making it a little less romantic than it should be. Whoops.
DEAD SHARKS is an uncomfortable film to watch, purely because you WILL recognize yourself as having been in this exact situation (or being the cause). But it’s smart by having you identify so wholly with these people because otherwise you wouldn’t like any of them (which might be part of the point). Relationships make people do some fucked up things, whether it be cheat on their longtime love or turn down the potential love of their live due to the past. Watching it play out is always unsettling because you swear it’s NEVER like that when you’re doing it…not really.
I enjoyed the circular narrative immensely. I’m a fan of storytelling that seems to meander but wraps things up nicely. Have to admit the second couple being in there didn’t make a lot of sense to me within the narrative because they’re never mentioned or appear in the other stories (unlike the others). It didn’t quite fit because of it. Otherwise the storytelling was spot-on and engaging. I highly enjoyed DEAD SHARKS, and if examinations of relationships and human nature are your sort of thing, you will too.
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