A student is accused by his peers of smoking, the short film retraces the steps of leading up to the accusation to determine who the real culprit is, as well as reiterating the important choice for student’s abstain from smoking.
The premise of the short film, being pretty simplistic, does manage to tell the story in an interesting way by shooting the scene in reverse. At just over two minute run-time, the script does not really need to be strong, as it is more of a visual showcase. However, the intent to make an anti smoking message kind of gets muddy, and feels more like a dream one would have during cigarette withdrawal. it puts the production at an interesting point, where I can’t really tell where the message begins, and what is an excuse to create an experimental scene.
The visual and audio presentation is the real focus of the short film. Visually, the choice to shoot the scene backwards in black and white with some muddied visuals, does create a nice nightmarish scene. With the film kind of flowing like a dream, the choice to have the actors more obscured from the shot, was a wise choice to keep a sort of disconnect and add an ethereal atmosphere. The sequence is scored rather well, with the track possibly also being played in reverse. The score aligns well with the visuals, and creates an uneasy, almost industrial vibe. However, it is hard to say if the score was a stroke of luck in backmasking a track, or just well crafted.
Having reviewed a few short films of Wan Dinnie (“Alice“, “Hana“) I can definitely tell that there is a strong creative talent behind these mini productions. But each is somewhat marred by a desire to experiment with different mediums and genres, as well as stick to producing them through classroom projects. Although, the use of students in helping with the production does garner a lot of admiration, as the experimental shorts allow for them to really embrace creative story telling at a young age. The end result across the short films I have had a chance to review is that, although each carries a different vibe, they do all seem familiar. This makes it difficult to determine the actual extent of Wan Dinnie’s creative vision. However, “No Smoking” was a great nightmarish sequence, and I am left excited to see more productions from the director.