It’s 12:26 pm
Fresh off watching and reviewing a powerful short film called “Cargo“,the cheetah and I were more then ready to check out another short,especially since it featured our favorite actor here, Timothy J. Cox. “Who Is Elmore Dean?” sounded right up our alley and at only 5 minutes and 30 seconds,I guess we would find out rather quickly,right?
This is how writer/director Max Rothman sums up his film:
“ELMORE DEAN follows a day in the life of songwriter Elmore Dean, a man who has enjoyed success in the music industry since his late teens, working as a song writer for hire for numerous musical artists. Dean is successful and has done it all it seems, but to him, most important is that he has done it on his terms, always in control, carving out a special niche in the songwriting industry by being a man always in demand, while managing to remain relatively obscure and in the shadows, not caring for the limelight. The film follows Dean over one day in his life, but it’s an atypical one, as the man who has always lived on his terms and has always been in control is now being thrown off his game as he prepares for an evening where he is going to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, which will include Dean making a speech in front of his peers at Radio City Music Hall. Elmore Dean is a man who has always shied away from the limelight, now he has to stand up and account for himself.”
The only problem is that we the viewer never see this. What we see is that Elmore loves music in all aspects and while we see one article about him,we never know just how good he really is,there aren’t any awards or trophies seen in his rather small apartment.
So without any real sense of who and how accomplished Dean is,we are perplexed when things in house start taking on a life of their own,shower turns on by itself,trash can falling over.
Dean’s reaction to the increasing incidents leads you to think he has seen this before but the viewer never gets a chance to grasp that reason. There isn’t a story here,its more of shot scene then a short film,we are put in the middle of something weird but we just don’t know why it’s happening. This is a short film that needed maybe another 3-4 minutes to establish who Elmore Dean is because at the end of 5 minutes,we never do.
As always Cox is great,the man is a magician and he does what every strong character actor is supposed to and that is elevate the material. His Dean comes across as more bemused then “stressed” and “anxiety filled”,he has experienced this before is what his mannerisms are saying.
Rothman did a fine directing job,visually,”Dean” has the look and feel of a much bigger film.
But I will say this,this is one of the best filmed shorts we have seen,the set design by Cindy Lin is pretty amazing and Olivia Kimmel’s cinematography is excellent,the handheld camera work is rich and seamless. It really is the dialogue in a film that has none. It establishes Dean living there and yes,we see aspects of how he lives but not who he is.
The secret weapon to Elmore Dean is the score…Ethan Kogan and David Lantz’s smooth silky jazz score is a winner here,it also seems to recognized that what is happening isn’t new or shocking. The piano is spiked during the apartment starting to go sideways but it never goes out of control….
We liked almost everything in this short film and even if we didn’t find out “Who Is Elmore Dean”,we were glad we were asked.