Directed by: Kiran Dhoot
Written by: Kiran Dhoot
Starring: Ricardo Freitas, Meena Rayann, Sanee Raval
Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Dystopian short film Exodus sees a world left void, both physically and morally, as we witness three survivors in a bunker attempt to cling to life in the desperate hope that one of the shuttles that are ferrying citizens off the planet may turn up.
Ricardo Freitas plays Caesar, one of the unlucky trio, who spends his time in the bunker showing kindness to Gibson (Sanee Raval), who seems broken and “tired” by some past behavior of his own, and appeasing Grace (Meena Rayann), whose curmudgeonly attitude begets her no friends. After learning that there may be an opportunity for one of them to escape their tragic confines, the true nature of each character reveals itself with varying amounts of ethical ambiguity.
Ambitious and not without its successes, Exodus suffers badly from a clunky script (written by Kiran Dhoot, who also directs here) and melodramatic performances. There are lines in the dialogue that bang around the bunker and don’t stop clamouring because another one hits moments later. Each of the performers wrestles with these lines and ultimately fails to produce anything other than forgettable science fiction humdrum. None of the performers seem comfortable with their character’s lines, which may be a reflection of limited rehearsal time or lack of direction, but either way it is something the audience will be unlikely to miss.
All that being said, I really enjoyed the claustrophobic atmosphere of Exodus and the way in which Dhoot uses the space of his location. The tube offers some brilliant opportunities to create intimacy and isolation at the same time and the filmmaker explores these brilliantly. This also enhanced the latter section of the short film, where the moral debate as to who deserves to be rescued ensued. Darkness is a constant presence in the bunker and a poignant reflection on human nature in the face of impending peril. The most intriguing aspect of the story is Gibson and how he ended up gaining entry to the bunker. A few details are shed and I would definitely liked to have seen this explored more. Some hazy snapshots/memory sequences could have possible been used, perhaps in replacement of the flatulence thread.
Other sci-fi shorts have done this genre a lot better (see John Carlin’s Echoes, or Fred Cavender’s The Damned) but Exodus is a worthwhile watch for viewers with an appetite for impending danger vibes and an interesting exploration of which parts of ourselves take over when it matters most, and which parts make an…aheam…exodus.