Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Film Review with Robert Mann - The Scanner

The Scanner ****½

From Gerard Lough, the director of Deviant, The Stolen Wings and The Boogeyman, comes another superbly made short film, this time a short science fiction piece entitled The Scanner. Made in 2009, after Deviant and before Lough’s other two films, this short has already received an extremely warm reception from audiences at film festivals and will soon be making its debut on the big screen where its dynamic mix of innovative visual effects, stunning photography and synthesizer music can be truly be appreciated in its fully glory. This is a film without much of a plot to speak of – the story being that an alien being in human form (portrayed by Lough’s regular collaborator Michael Parle) constructs an unusual device that allows him to scan for a hidden craft that will take him home (the story inspired by The Tourist, a famous unmade Sci-Fi screenplay by Clair Noto) – but with a running time of just under four minutes and the focus here being on distinctive visuals this does not prove to be a problem. This is a film with a very distinctive and different look.

All effects seen here are done in camera, using stylish and effective light painting techniques and stunning stop motion animation that prove eye-popping in a way that the effects in a Hollywood blockbuster never could be, the colour scheme being vibrant and the effects being delightfully offbeat. The cinematography and lighting are also superb, all the interior scenes lit with half a dozen LED lights lending the film a very distinctive visual style, and the cinematography capturing all the colours vibrantly. 


The film also sounds great, the synthesiser music score by Cian Furlong providing a perfectly fast beat to go with the kinetic fast moving visuals and outlandish effects and giving the film a feel reminiscent of an 80s music video. All in all, The Scanner is an excellent example of how you can create something visually striking without the need for elaborate and expensive visual effects. Different, refreshing and unique in its look and feel, it is an extremely well made and very impressive short film that once again showcases director Gerard Lough’s incredible filmmaking talent.

The Scanner will be receiving a limited theatrical release in Ireland later this year.

It can also be viewed on YouTube here.


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Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)

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