Occasionally you come across a short film that makes you stop and just watch. Instantly, you are captivated and sent into this story through powerful visuals, glorious story-telling, and intense performance. There are goosebumps, shivers down your spine, and you head back to the start to experience it all over again.
Directed by Michael Fisher, Last Words revolves around a woman who, when bitten by a poisonous spider, decides to make a series of phone calls in her last moments. However, the only person to answer is a stranger in an equally precarious situation and the pair bond over their situations.
Based on a poem by Simon Armitage, Fisher’s Last Words is an evocative and powerful short. It is embellished with a terrific quirk and a visual style Each scene has a care and attention to it, allowing moods to contrast through C’s final moments. There are ebbs colours of deep black loss. shimmering neon purple of “what if”, and a delicate beige hue of humdrum. Fisher and his team work magnificent imagery through cinematography, shifts of camerawork, and the layout of the set. There is great detail in a few moments and it is a testament to a terrific production layout, intimate direction, and a lot of hard work.
Ruth Bradley is engrossing as C, especially as she is caught paralysed in one spot. The pain, the anguish, the longing, are all amazingly portrayed by Bradley. Ivanno Jeremiah (who worked with Bradley on Channel 4’s Humans,) narrates Armitage’s fantastical yet real poem. Not to be hyperbolic, but Jeremiah has one of the best voices I have ever heard in my life. In fact, he now narrates the story of my life in my head. There is no other-voice. Screw Freeman. Screw Offerman. Screw Hammer. Jeremiah has a silky, soothing voice impeccably made to recite verse and, heck, a shopping list would roll elegantly off his tongue and sound like Shakespeare.
…Anyway, Jeremiah’s handling of Armitage’s words allows the poetry to match the intensity and colour. At every level, Last Words is enthused with vividness and dream-like wonder.
My Last Words? This short is amazing.
Don’t miss out on Random Acts over at Channel 4!