‘Sometimes when I try to find answers I just close my eyes, relax and listen to the radio’ are the final words in this thought-provoking film written by Hame Raeen and Joyanta Singha and directed by Hame Raeen. This epilogue that runs alongside the ending credits helps in unlocking the concept's premise but also serves as a captivating tagline sentence that summarizes what life (or filmmaking for that matter) is at its very core.
Bloody Mary is a short film that hooks us right from the opening scene and never intends to distract us with repetitiveness or to pursue unnecessary subplots. Set in 1982, a man named Grant ends up in a small town, right in front of a bar with no guests except for the owner, James, who tends him a drink. Grant is stressed, and his facial expressions show that his intentions might be ill-prepared. However, James stoically follows Grant's limited movements and nuances in his expression that are soon to exploit something else. Working with people all his life, James has seen all kinds of desperate customers enter the bar. What makes Grant different from them?
The audience's job is to guess what is going to happen next. A simple conversation reveals different things, as the film relies on the second level of dialogue – a character says something that means something else in the subtext. Soon, the conversation between the only two cast members (we won't go into details about the ensemble in order not to spoil the ending) turns into an intellectual chess game. That is substituted with the game of cat and mouse when Grant suddenly pulls the gun and asks James to empty the register. The tension arises at the exact point the story needed a new element. The writer's investment in the plotline and the structural beat sheet showcases that even a singular setting and limited time and space, hence characters, is the perfect formula for an engaging narrative that keeps us on the edge of our seats.
Even die-hard fans of thriller films wouldn't predict the outcome. The film carefully hides the plot details while it subtly plants the seed for the anticipated midpoint twist. The roles are changed, the stakes increase, and every cause has its effect.
Bloody Mary is produced by all professional industry standards. It doesn't have any sore spots. The production design revives the 1980s, and the radio program becomes an integral part of the soundtrack.
In addition, the cinematography and directing use creative storytelling devices. The outstanding performances from Denis Ostier and Usman Raeen would arouse the buzz in the film industry – they are unquestionably award-winning performances with an incredible talent for exploiting psychology and dissecting the human nature.
The ending doesn't intend to give us all the answers. The radio host tackles this, which provides the film with a whole new dimension – the implementation of meta-narrative, a story inside a story questioning the other one's existence.
In conclusion, Bloody Mary is an exceptional film made by a large crew ensemble dedicated to the task with professionalism that’s striking.