[28] SHORT FILM ANALYSIS 5: Wire Cutters

Wire Cutters is a futuristic short film directed by Jack Anderson, an award winning director and visual artist, this individual short film is his most successful piece and was made with an incredibly low budget of just $500. It was released in 2014 and since has been highly praised receiving an average rating of 7.5 out of 10 on imdb.com. Wire Cutters follows the story of two mining robots sent to a deserted planet in the hope of finding valuable materials, chance means that they cross paths and soon find that they can work together to better each others work, however greed soon plays a part with the robots disagreeing on how to share there spoils, this resulted in both robots being unable to recharge themselves due to the way that they acted in this situation… the key message of this story is that greed is harmful to all involved in the longterm.

Mise-en-scene is a key part of this piece, the sky is coloured in a very smoggy way, this immediately gives us the impression that it could not be sustainable for living organisms, the grey colour in the sky has connotations of depression and boredom, both of which I feel have a key role in this short film… boredom first because before the robots paths crossed they both seemed to look very bored doing the work that they were and depression because I believe that it was a signifier of the ending that would come to these robots. The robots are made to look very old and dirty which tells us two things, firstly that they have been doing this job for a very long time and secondly that they have been decaying in the climate that they are within, perhaps again reiterating the pollution levels on this planet, this could be another warning put into this short film, that if we continue to be greedy and ignore the environment that our planet could end up the same way that this one does. Diegetic sound is used in this piece quite effectively, the robotic noises tell us that this piece is set in the future, also the sound of the air tells us that everything is not quite right on this planet, it sounds very eery. Non-diegetic sound is also used very effectively, the soundtrack gives us a sense of exploration and mystery which matches this piece perfectly.

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The narrative of this piece is linear, it follows a straight line and doesn’t ever go off of this, this is very easy to do but is not really a convention of the short film genre… personally i think this is done to represent the simplicity of the robots, the simple structure means that it follows the same sort of pattern that a simple machine would. The narrative of this piece is also pretty closed, in all odds it looks like the robots both ended up periling, there could be a very small possibility that they could have survived but it looked to be incredibly unlikely given the scenario that they were in.

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The genre of this piece is a sci-fi, I have already analysed a sci-fi short film entitled “Mouse X”, these two films have many similarities in the way that they both ultimately end with the trapping of the main characters which could perhaps be a convention of sci-fi short films. Science fiction is a very complicated genre and relies heavily on special effects and a large budget, this limits the way that I would be able to do this if I wanted to make sci-fi a part of my work, for this reason I think that it would benefit from not including this aspect in my short film. This piece can also be seen as having some postmodern aspects, the piece is very abstract and unusual which definitely gives it an element of postmodernism.

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The robots in this piece are represented as being very human like, despite not having the emotional complexity that a human would have these robots show us both greed and teamwork, things that you would not expect to see, I think this is done as to include the directors ideologies of greed but using robots so that it is not as obvious as it would be if the characters were humans. I think that it is especially symbolic of humans as it is the little, clever one who is cheating the larger robot… perhaps reference to the ideas Gramsci used in Hegemony that a small group of elites controls the masses.

To conclude I think that this is another very different interpretation of the short film genre, my favourite part was the way in which this film kept its referencing to humans so well hidden despite blatantly talking about us through the use of robots. The aspects of this short film that I will consider using in my piece will be the use of ideology, as I get further through these analysis’ it seems that it is an ever recurring theme and something that I may well have to include in my short film, it will be incredibly difficult to achieve this effectively as it is a hard technique to include it subtly enough but I will definitely experiment with this when filming. I would also like to use diegetic sound to the same effect as it was used in this piece, I feel that diegetic sound is something that is very important in short films as it gives a sort of real world feeling to it.


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