The film's artistic value is providing social commentary, raising awareness, critiquing constructs and providing political statements. The short film we review today, 846, written and produced by Charles Andrews and directed by Andrew Essig, is a powerful cinematic piece and a legacy of the turbulent changes we witness today.
846 throws the bait right away in the opening scene. The camera slowly moves back from the character, digressing from a medium close-up to wide, as if it's afraid of what the man dressed in prison uniform could do any moment now. The well-crafted opening sequence establishes the deliberate pacing that the film would maintain until the final act, eventually accelerating to the end in the most pivotal way possible. Hence one of the strengths of 846 is the cinematography, which is introverted in the exposition. Its unassertiveness allows the audience to concentrate on the performances from the diverse cast ensemble.
It's noticeable that the casting received clear directions and got into character straight away. The energetic and meaningful performances are worthy of recognition – the actors and actresses indeed grasped the psychology of the characters they portray in terms of their dramaturgical roles, social status, backstory and contrast. Also, it's evident that the script was brought to a substantial level in the development and pre-production, as the conversational pieces maintain a realistic dimension. The dialogue tells plenty without trying to overstate. Room is left for the visual syntax as well – the medical file of Cummins's child awaiting surgery – a prop that is the story's MacGuffin, inevitably an integral part of the plotline. The lingering shot of the inside of the car with the folder put on the backseat as a projection of the child that should occupy the place and a realization that strikes the officer a microsecond after he pulls the trigger. The Shakespearian irony in 846 is undoubtedly poignant.
As mentioned prior, the film explores a broader array of ideas and subjects. The underlying theme is Covid-19, yet it’s not the premise itself. The racist officers pull up a family because they suspect their car has been reported as stolen. Of course, this is made-up right amid the situation that takes the most unexpected turn, or is it indeed unexpected? The subtext is in the absolute truth – the officers’ attack is racist, which is where the film compares similarities with the events that prompted the Ferguson protests. Hence the social dimension of the film, which implicitly possesses artistic values.
Given the number of storytelling and production strengths and the optimal running time, the conclusion is that 846 is a film intended to reach out to the broadest demographics. It has the necessary qualities for fruitful festival life. It's the portfolio of experienced and talented filmmakers who pay attention to detail and know how to tell a well-structured story creatively.