Floyd Tanager, a paranoid individual, is seeking revenge for his murdered younger brother. His quest brings him to find a man known simply as “Sphinx”. With a man bound and brought out to a field to learn more information, Floyd learns more about the fate of his brother and the man who chose to end his life.

“Gridlock” offers a great visual presentation from the beginning, with an opening monologue shot in crisp black and white, transitioning into complimentary murky color. Throughout the short film, the camera work remains pretty impeccable, transitioning well between each of its subjects to best highlight the dialogue and actors’ emotional responses. The visual presentation feels on par with bigger productions, and gives the short film a certain level of expertise which stands as its greatest attribute.

The script for the production is rather minimal. However, the dialogue is still well presented, and outside of feeling familiar, is hard to offer much critique. Ultimately, the script does show room for improvement, but this rests more in the format, that asks the viewer to construct a greater story surrounding the single scene that is presented. Although, within “gridlock” it is difficult to gauge how Mark Schoonmaker would handle a longer story, it also shows more optimism towards seeing what he can do within a longer production, then deter from pushing past the short film format.

The cast, which consists of two characters, does do an admirable job in their roles. Their inexperience does show a bit, as hitting the emotional cues falls slightly short, feeling a bit clunky. The interaction between the characters focuses on an intense meeting, which with poor performances or direction could easily fall into campy or hammy if it was mishandled. There is a certain degree of reserve and commitment to the performances which compliments the production.

Manila-born Director Mark Schoonmaker showcases an understanding of visual storytelling, which elevates a familiar story in “Gridlock” . Overall, the production does seem to exist to capture a single scene and suffers from a limited script. Thankfully, there is still enough defined talent, that will hopefully allow for growth when backed with a more fully realized narrative.

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