Stop (2014) – By Kirsten Walsh

In a cold, blustery winter, many people stay indoors and stay warm. It is during these times that film becomes an escape- a retreat from reality. Paul Murphy’s “Stop” is a short film that is an escape, almost literally! A British film clocking in at under 15 minutes, it is a surreal look at two women sitting at a bus stop. The film focuses more on the aspect of what is not told, but what is shown. The reactions, the actions, and the motions of the two females speak volumes in comparison to their simple and distinct lines. In a realistic form, the film doesn’t feature any music until the last few moments of the film, but instead relies on the first disturbing, and then increasingly traumatic sound of a suitcase being dragged along the sidewalk. This unique use of sound indeed makes the film more real and brings the viewer into the film, watching the tragic events unfold.

An Irish filmmaker making films in England, Paul Murphy penned and directed the script and shot it in London. The dreary London landscape feels almost claustrophobic as the females begin revealing more and more about themselves, bringing to light a tragic topic that plagues one of the women. In the midst of the tragedy and secrets that come out, there are just a few things that seem out of place within this film. The film is quite dark, using what appears to be mostly natural lighting. It is understandable as being one of the challenges of shooting entirely outside, however it is noticeable. Also, the music, as simplistic as it is, seems out of place in this otherwise realistic world that has been created. It is haunting and pretty, but it seems too happy, as if the motive was to not leave the audience as depressed as the characters. The cinematography is subtle enough to catch the emotions and never detract from the women. The choice of location plays an extremely important role, as the camera never leaves the women out of sight. The two actresses bring forth an emotional quality that is seen on the silver screens today, but make it seem as if the viewer was standing next to them, waiting for the bus.

This is an excellent glimpse into European filmmaking, and I look forward to seeing more of Murphy’s work in the future.

“Stop” is currently hitting the festival circuit, and has already begun to see success. More information can be found on its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/stopmphshortfilm#!/stopmphshortfilm