When you’re 8 years old, your life should revolve around running around, making noise, and eating candy. Unfortunately, things aren’t so simple for Toby, the 8 year-old boy at the centre of Corrie Jones’s second foray into the world of short films. Water tells the hard-hitting tale of how the life of a young boy is affected by having a father who suffers from a severe mental disability and how he comes to terms with what this means for his future.
For Water, Jones and his director of photography Andrew McLeod adopt a realistic approach to their filmmaking, employing hand-held, unsteady shots to bestow the film with an almost documentary feel to its cinematography. Often focusing on the faces of the film’s struggling family, the camera is often found lingering for prolonged periods, almost as if it is out staying its welcome in these private, concealed moments. This is a portrayal of real life, the parts of life we often don’t want to acknowledge, and Jones makes us look at and consider something we may find difficult to contemplate.
It’s stylistic choices like these, coupled with some fantastic turns from the films main cast that make Water such a powerful piece. The film’s success rests on the ability of its actors, and whether it’s down to some focused directing or precise acting, both Adam Lowrie (Son Toby) and Adam Booth (Father Sean) deliver powerful, show-stopping performances. With the camera often operating intensely close to one of the pair, even a minuscule slip of character or a misplaced twitch could irreversibly destroy the authority of Water. Thankfully, both actors never relent in their mission for realistic portrayals and what could have so easily been a failure is instead a triumphant success.
Covering such a serious subject was always going to be a risky choice for a filmmaker, but in the case of Water it was definitely a risk worth taking. At times heartbreaking, yet ultimately full of hope, Corrie Jones has accomplished the enviable task of creating a memorable short that also delivers a powerful message. I challenge any of you not to be choking back tears by the film’s ending moments.