In Liu Dong-Lin's piercing short film Rain Dogs, a gripping and tense drama-thriller grounded in reality, a young man's desperate attempt to discover the truth about his sister's unexpected pregnancy turns upside down amid the darkest of the night.
It deserves to be called an invaluable creative film as a film of the highest artistic qualities and production standards. Its provocative concept and premise that's undoubtedly engaging are crafted from Liu's sensitivity at accumulating nuanced character traits and information intended for the audience without sounding on the nose. The final composition of shots, as well as the directing for the mise-en-scene, is poetry in motion.
It's invaluable to note that the whole film has a continuous storyline without any harsh ellipses – except for the catharsis scene, everything happens in the course of one night. Therefore, a special mention goes to the cinematography and the compelling work done with the lighting and shadows. Some shots are intentionally ambiguous, for example, in the establishing minutes. There, we meet the protagonist through physical obstacles, whether it's the whole neighborhood, a simple detail like electricity wires or a fence.
The filmmakers cover every scene from multiple angles, thus never breaking the fundamental degree rule. The artistic crew is experienced, and there’s no doubt about it – they barely introduce a scene with the master shot. On the contrary, they establish the actors first, and then the geography. In constant movement, the camera resonates with the characters’ psychology – the juxtaposition of camera and actor shows fear, guilt, remorse and anger, depending on the protagonist’s transformation.
This is supported by the outstanding performances by all cast members involved. Attention is also given to the two drunk women who accompany the second soon-to-be victim. Nothing is left to chance, as the acting in Rain Dogs is definitely an award-winning material.
As the camera is lifted from the ground for the final shot, the auteurs want to give information on the epilogue, which was the only moment kept away from the curious eye of the participative viewer. Thus, even then, Rain Dogs doesn't reveal all the details, yet it plants the seed. This is a showcase example of how a short film shouldn't explain everything; too much transparency would overwhelm the audience. Rain Dogs tells a complete story in less than ten minutes, with a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. The main conflict is set in the past, which is a creative decision that contributed to the overall experience – the film doesn't have the same beginning as the conflict. It's the effect of the cause with added flavor.
Rain Dogs is Dong-Lin's directorial debut, although the filmmaker has a fruitful career in arthouse cinema. From the enthusiastic analysis of Rain Dogs, we are delighted to conclude that the filmmaker should continue to develop their storytelling signature with great confidence, and we can soon expect to see their name adopting a worldwide appeal in the auteur cinema.