Placebo Delivers On Cinematography And Storytelling
Placebo Film Details
Director: Andrew J.D. Robinson
Writer: Andrew J.D. Robinson
Release Date: 2017
Release Format: YouTube
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 2min 29sec
A surreal portrait about beauty, wanting to be perfect and its ugly side effects.
noun: placebo; plural noun: placebos
A pill, medicine, or procedure having no pharmacological effect prescribed merely for a patient’s psychological benefit who supposes it to be a medicine.
Andrew J.D. Robinson writes and directs Placebo, a 2-minute experimental short film about body dysmorphia. The short stars Aileigh Karson as the subject, Jennifer Trudrung as the narrator/interviewer and Maura Stephens as the ideal body and beauty.
We are Jennifer Trudrung- the interviewer, the doctor, the one that says you’re beautiful but in the end, always accepts that there’s a flaw that needs work done. The patient here is Aileigh Karson and we first see her wearing a hoody, in an eccentric mood, almost high, reaching out to us a picture of Maura Stephens, Ms. Carmichael with an autograph. We suppose Ms. Carmichael is a celebrity and Karson’s character is a fan and wants to be “just like her”. We get exposed to her operation and the stages she is to go through.
It’s always a pleasure to watch a short film below five (5) minutes that can capture something special and that crawls under your skin. The cinematography is superb. The director’s idea of transforming Placebo in two different worlds of tones is astonishing. Loved it in every way. In the beginning, everything is in low saturation, almost black and white, so it intensifies the scenes in every way possible.
Funny enough, when the doctor is putting lipstick on Karson’s character’s face to know where to go with the knife for the clinical operation, for a second, she looks like a clown, and that was the key for how the story unfolds and how outside beauty is superficial. When we see her as Ms. Carmichael, Andrew J.D. Robinson gave us some colors and boy, how beautiful they are. For a moment the character is happy about the after show of the operation but when she doubts herself and asks herself if she is beautiful if it’s enough, the colors come off and we’re back to black and white. That’s an amazing choice for storytelling and it tells that the director knows what he’s doing.
I would have started the short directly with the black and white and finished with the colors and the title screen. That’s the only thing I would have preferred in the film. Other than that, good storytelling for such a short running time.
4. In Conclusion:
Placebo is shot in a minimalist setting, the workflow that can take only a day to shoot but we need nothing else in here. Everything gets delivered by its protagonists. Placebo portrays beauty and perfection as something we’re always trying to achieve but fails to be satisfied. It stays with you for a while.
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