Mr. Bowling Ball Has Difficulty To Impress With Scare Level
Writer: Ian Sproul
Release Date: 2018
Release Format: Film Festivals
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 15 mins
Mr. Bowling Ball tells the story of Jack Whelton, a hitman who tracks down the Palmer family waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Mr. Bowling Ball is a thriller short produced by Mitchell Slan, creator of the award-winning horror short Balloon and it’s written and directed by Ian Sproul and co-directed by Costantino Ciminiello.
Related Article: Balloon Review
During the casting call for the short, production states:
“The film is a neo-noir hitman film set in present-day Los Angeles. This is a visually based piece with very little dialogue. We have a great crew in place and we are looking to bring on a talent that can tell the story through looks, movement, and action. Mr. Bowling Ball is a piece told moment to moment, filled with mystery, suspense, and blood.”
At first when I started to watch the short, it reminded me of Wong Kar-Wai’s cinematography in some way. The use of intense colours, beautifully shot engaged my viewing right from the starting point. Since this is a powerful neo-noir thriller, I figured it was mostly influenced by Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive who shines brilliantly with its cinematography and its score.
The story is as simple as I addressed above, there aren’t any twists or turns, you just know the hitman is there for a mission and he’s eager to accomplish his job no matter what.
There’s no dialogue from the hitman, played exquisitely by Peter O’Brien. His performance shines through his body language and the energy of his eyes. I recognized him before from Asif Kapadia’s underrated thriller The Return and I recall thinking that he had a lot of potential. I wasn’t mistaken. His character here is compelling and possesses many layers which was curious to observe. There’s a scene where he didn’t know that Sarah Palmer was pregnant and that forced him to interrupt his actions for a moment. I thought that was striking and even though it doesn’t reach further than that, it did create something fresh to the character.
Lisa Roumain stands out as well as the pregnant wife, bringing vulnerability and charismatic personality to the role.T
The cinematography blew me away, the font used in the title is excellent, bringing style and singular perspective from the crew.
There’s not that much tension during the film, which is a bit disappointing. The issue wasn’t the rhythm per se but I would have hoped to not see that often the antagonist from early on. We familiarise with his face and somehow I didn’t feel terrified or thrilled with what was going to happen. There is a climax scene in the bathroom though but the shots used from the directors didn’t create the scare factor I was seeking for.
From the moment it starts you will be directly invested in the story by its amazing visuals but when it finally goes where you want it to go, it fails to impress. Mr. Bowling Ball could be developed as a feature since the antagonist seems to have a background that we don’t know that much about and I was interested to see him some more.
Maybe next time keep the viewer on their toes with the use of shadows and large shots of the empty house before introducing the killer. It could’ve helped to create an eerie ambiance. Other than that, it’s definitely worth a watch. There’s a lot of potential here to explore.