The first thing that struck me about this 6 minute short was the camera angles used throughout the film. Stepping aside from the conventional angles, the film plays around with low angle shots, tilt shots, in a subtle way without making a gimmick out of it. That, considering the length of the film, works rather well and brings about freshness in the film.
The story of Briefcase is about a man on the run with a briefcase whose contents remain unknown to the audience till the very end. In short (no pun intended) it's a chase film, but mysterious enough to keep the audience guessing as to what actually is happening. Once again, since it lasts only 6 minutes, it manages to capture the audience in the right frame of mind, and ends in a way that leaves space for discussion. The fact that the film is not clear about its ending (at least after the first watch), and also has a pretty shocking end, on one end can be disappointing as the audience might leave confused, while on the other, to my liking, it encourages exploring the different possibilities.
I thoroughly enjoyed this six minute adventure and look forward to future projects by the makers of the film. The filming, production, and overall feel of the short are quite exceptional and reflect the work that went into the making. Since it's only six minutes of our life, but many hardworking hours for the makers, I highly recommend that you watch this film.
(Please click on the link to view the film on YouTube)
Since I had the opportunity to email the maker of the film, Nate Golon, he was kind enough to send me the story of the film and the "mythology" behind it. I strongly recommend that you view the film before reading the blurb below, as Briefcase is all about discovering and guessing what's going on, on your own first.
"In this film's universe, right before you die, a briefcase is left near you for Death to pick up. This briefcase has a picture of you at your moment of death. Death comes into the world momentarily in human form in order to collect the briefcase. If Death does not come and get the briefcase in time (which happens very rarely), "miracles" occur, where a person comes back to life after being pronounced dead. When Death is in human form (most of the time it is just for a few moments), he follows the same rules as a normal human does. He takes many human forms - a doctor, paramedic, onlooker at an accident, or in this case, a cop. His only heightened sense when he is in human form is his sense of where the person he is going to collect may be. But he must still follow human rules in order to get to that person (and the person's briefcase) he is after. It is only after he successfully obtains the desired person's briefcase that he is free to leave the human form.
Carter cheats death by seeing the briefcase and seeing the contents inside. The gunshot goes off right as he looks at the picture, and at the end, when the cop is looking at the picture of Carter dead, he sees what should have been Carter's moment of death, next to the car. The scene at the very end with the mom and daughter is what happens normally when a person dies, where people never see the briefcase. Inside that briefcase is the picture of the little girl."
Photo Courtesy - Nate Galon
Photo Courtesy - Nate Galon