Dark Dawn In Tokyo
This short has an okay concept, but the way it is presented is maybe a bit amateur and lackluster. The story is nothing but dialogue. The action is pretty linear, it is not hard to follow where it is trying to go or what it is trying to do, and that’s a good thing. Having flashbacks or an irregular timeline in a film tends to confuse audiences most of the time, but that is not the case here.
The characters and their reactions are at times artificial and forced. They are very hard to be seen as genuine, and the emotions behind their reactions are cheapened by overeacting in certain scenes. Maybe it is an editing issue, seeing as the lines for each character had to be shot separately and then put together. Some lines seem to be delayed, even just for a second. That could be easily fixed with a quick re-editing.
Most of the dialogue only serves the purpose of furthering the story and that is a big disadvantage for the film. The rule of “Show, don’t tell!” is sacred and should be followed more. Sometimes, the lines are spoken either matter-of-factly, or with too much emotion or emphasis. The language is pretty simplistic and the audience can tell the acting is not the best, even if their native language isn’t Japanese or Romanian.
However, the bond between the two brothers seems to be strong as an old oak. Its main themes are revenge and grief, common subjects in movies such as these. The film also talks about family and forgiveness, accounting for some of the few genuine emotional sequences. There is a message of protecting your family at all costs even if it means you have to sacrifice yourself when Vlad chooses to protect his brother and not instantly accuse him of murdering his date, whatever effect that might have on his career.
A good moment in the dialogue happens at the very beginning when Vlad looks at his brother drying a glass with a towel and says to him “I think it’s dry enough already.”. Who hasn’t seen someone doing that in a film and wanted to tell the barman the same thing? More humor can go a very long way and help the story be more accessible and likable. The director should keep that in mind for the sequel.
The movie is not an innovative piece of cinema, but the director’s effort is commendable for doing so much with very little. It might have had only a $100 dollar budget, but most viewers probably won’t notice the short was mostly filmed with a green screen until they see the scenes in the end credits. Furthermore, there are very few directors we know of who have gotten involved in composing the soundtrack for their movie as well as directing it, starring in it (two roles), and editing it. You have to give credit where credit is due, so kudos to the director.
The sequel announced at the end is an interesting promise, because it looks like it is going to contain more action. People want to see arrests, chase and fight scenes, even exchange of gunfire. Give the audience what they want and they’ll reward you with applause and appreciation.