Short of the Week

Interpretation

A harmless discussion turns into serious action in this fable from Hollywood stunt man, Lin Oeding.

Interpretation is a simple fable, and is satisfying in a way only a fable can be.  Like other simple fables of our age (The Road Warrior, Star Wars) it entertains as tales around the bonfire once did, but with the addition of fast paced visual action.

We have our reluctant hero, cruel villains, a message about life, and blood. Dan and Erica are on their way home after a movie-date through the urban jungle. They could be any couple, though better looking and more pleasant (as representatives should be).  Their path crosses that of three thugs, one of whom is using passages from Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War to justify his violent life, and another who has taken it to heart.  Ah, but they don’t understand that what that famous book means is a matter of interpretation.

Director Lin Oeding has experience as a stunt man in a variety of projects, from the TV series Bones to The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, so it is no surprise the fight is brutal, exciting, and filled with surprises.  You can see each blow, and each has meaning.  This is the stuff that gets your blood pumping.

Like in the best action films, this isn’t combat in a vacuum. We are given enough to choose sides and care who is laughing, who is terrorized, who is bleeding, and who is left laying in the road. We are introduced to Dan and Erica as they carry out the verbal dance that marks the later part of a date, the war between the sexes that’s as old as time. They are easy going, funny, and so easy to relate to.  That war is interrupted by an equally old one.  With a few deft strokes, Oeding creates a palpable threat. The three hoods feel dangerous, and it is easy to empathize with Dan; even more so due to star Ian Bohen ability to inhabit the character.  His physicality is amazing, but no more so than his humor and charisma.

Interpretation is Lin Oeding’s step toward feature action filmmaking.  It should prove to anyone that he’s more than qualified.

~
Matthew is the director of the Dragon*Con Independent Film Festival, which annually brings filmmakers, features, and the best in short film to Atlanta. He writes a monthly film column for the short fiction review magazine, The Fix and maintains a film criticism website, FosteronFilm.com.
  • Matthew

    I agree the fight was excellently directed and edited – and the premise was unashamedly Hollywood – good and simple. Amazing work from all involved. Loved the baddies and the Clark Kent reveal. It brought an out-loud i’m 15 again “yeah!” from me when things really heated up. My only slight criticism (which i hope would be taken positively) is that the opening walk and talk of our couple feels a little stilted & off balance at times – just occasionally not quite a real conversation but damn close. If that could be brought up to the same standard as the fight scene it would be perfect. A little more time directing the actors and some slightly more naturalistic editing there would bring real dividends i feel. But anyway a great showcase short and I agree with the high rating.

  • Jason Sondhi

    Our site metrics show not as many people as usual saw this one, which is a shame because like you, I really really enjoyed it. I actually thought the acting in the walkup scene was one of the film’s real strengths, but maybe that’s just in comparison to the low standards I have for short film acting.

    I watched this with a buddy though, and couldn’t decide if the dialogue was really good, or whether it was the acting that saved it. We both really liked how it came together, but I thought that the words would have been cheesy with subpar acting.

  • Felonious Punk

    One of the neat things about this movie is how during the fight, it’s unexpected whenever the hero gets hit, and for a moment I think that his winning streak has just come to an end. I guess that’s thanks in large part to the editing department.

  • http://www.torbalscales.com/ Piotr

    I hope these guys continue to do what they do. As someone who sees a lot of bad indie films, this was a real pleasure to watch. I’d love to see what they can do with a bigger story.

  • Gary

    Still one of my favorite short films. Great work.

  • http://www.ivanrana.net ivan rana

    Very good given the director’s main goal was to exhibit his strength (Action) – The set up was very generic, but good. The action was really, really good. I want to say Hollywood film like, but this was deff. hollywood set up including the budget – I must have watched one particular shot over half a dozen times, for its execution. Hope the director gets a full fledged hollywood backing to make a film – I know I will see it. Best of Luck all the way!!!!!

  • Jason Sondhi

    glad you liked ivan rana. I like the idea of stunt guys getting into short films. The clear precedent is Nash Edgerton and the Blue Tongue group out of Australia.

  • Lin Oeding

    ivan – which shot did u watch half dozen times for execution?  thanks for the high ratings guys!

  • Ivanrana

    The spiral kick at 6.16  to 6.19 the editing was bang on, the entire fight sequence was very well choreographed though. Sorry for the late reply I have been traveling,  Have a wonderful christmas.
    ivan

  • Joseph

    awesome. loved this. I’m an actor so thats what i was most watching. Great. So natural. Really really awesome.