Written and Directed by Andi Osho
Starring Cat Van Dort, Will Finlason
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Tackling the totes emosh world of pop music fandom, filmmaker Andi Osho’s short film Amber adds a deliciously macabre streak to his tale, and the result is compelling and enjoyably twisted.
Cat Van Dort plays the titular Amber, a fan girl of fictional boyband One Summer (most likely a reference to One Direction, of which there are several others), in particular one of its members called Charlie (Will Finlason). At the beginning of the short, we see her entering a police station and being taken in for questioning, her mother notices she has been cutting herself again. What transpires through flashback is an atmospheric and psychologically thrilling encounter between Amber and Charlie, when she breaks into his apartment.
From the outset, Osho captures the polarity of emotion in its central character brilliantly. Vibrant scenes of Amber declaring her love for the boy and excitement at sharing the fan fiction she has created, are masterfully juxtaposed with the perilous apartment sequences where she poses a considerable threat. The tension continues to build throughout, culminating in a totally satisfying final third which can be rare in short thrillers.
Van Tort is a perfunctory lead, coping well with the majority of dialogue but coming across wooden at times. Her best interaction is actually the more physically demanding moments with Finlason, who is a more commanding on screen presence. His motivations are expressed well during the whole movie, and Finlason delivers a very believable jaded pop star.
Thematically, short film Amber is an intoxicating combination. Stories that depict the uneasy relationship between the youth and the digital age are becoming increasingly popular and potent. The role of social media in the development of young people and the responsibilities of celebrity role models is a fascinating topic. All of this and more gets churned up in Osho’s film, with spectacular results.
Aside from a few amateur dramatics and line delivery, Amber is a striking and relevant piece of modern storytelling. Containing impressive visuals, a formidable atmosphere, and a story depth that are utterly impressive.