This isn’t your Saturday cartoon about a cat and mouse. Nope. The story follows the troubled relationship between a cat and mouse who live together. They struggle to understand each other as the career-focused mouse and the sensitive cat seem destined to first sabotage and then save one another in what feels like a very real depiction of a 21st century tumultuous relationship. Director, David O’Reilly, admits his attempt to draw out some serious drama in this otherwise emotionless world. No small feat for two cartoon characters that communicate in squeaks and show no facial expression.
Let’s be honest. The story is good, but the visual art direction (or “aesthetic orchestration” as the film puts it) is outstanding—a perfect blend of new age and nostalgia. David puts the digital aesthetic on display in a very authentic way. His compositions reflect the three quarter view of old video games (not unlike A Volta), and at times even uses raw 3D wireframes to portray a characters inner thoughts. Please Say Something makes no attempt to hide it’s construction methods.
The animation is amazing. The pacing and movement of the characters is fast. Watching David play with perspective in referencing security cameras and time-lapse photography, I’m reminded of my first time seeing Aronofsky’s experimental camerawork in Requiem For a Dream. My only quip would be the sometimes overly-exaggerated camera movements when sweeping through rooms.
But it’s the full package that make this film special—the juxtaposition of many opposing things. It’s uniqueness comes from it’s disparity. Told any other way, the story would be ho-hum. The visuals, used for any other brand of story would be entertaining but shallow. It’s a film that has to be done the way it is and must never change—not unlike Cracker Jacks.
I must admit that I am infatuated with this short. I realize that my love is likely disproportionate and temporary, but that is little consolation. Please Say Something is a new favorite of mine.
Note* — “This was one of the 10 excellent Sundance offerings in 2010. Check out the other 9 selections here“