Director: Adam Nelson
Staring: Finnian Nainby-Luxmoore, Matt Jones, Isabelle Glinn, Graham Cawte, Peter Oliver
Running Time: 80 mins
There is a specific joy in emerging yourself into the world of independent cinema. Without the dizzying heights of a blockbuster budget, independent filmmakers must rely on their talent for storytelling to truly connect with their audience and when they do, it creates a wholly intense and intimate affair between director and audience that is not so often found in mainstream cinema.
It’s with great ambition and natural talent that director Adam Nelson dips his toes into the world of independent cinema with his feature directorial debut; Little Pieces. From Apple Park Films comes a story of two brothers, Michael (Finnian Nainby-Luxmoore) and Eric (Matt Jones), who find their brooding resentment against their alcoholic Father bubbling to the surface with real danger of violently boiling over.
Told in a non-linear fashion, Nelson relies on character development and audience interpretation to tell the story, rather than traditional narrative form, and this pays off in creating an impressively ambition first crack at tackling a full feature narrative. It gives way for more in-depth character analysis, allowing a simple but effective narrative to speak louder than perhaps a more traditional forms of story telling; mirroring already well regarded British independent flicks in their uniqueness.
While this technique does make for a more interesting and challenging watch, it doesn’t always pay off in ensuring that it’s intentions are always clear and this is where stronger dialogue could have enabled a little more focus and clarity between the characters; particularly between the two brothers as their bond would have perhaps been stronger.
The film immediately introduces a varied and skilled use of cinematography, with Nelson proving an immediate talent and knowledge of story telling in visual communication. There are some lovely shots with great composition and it’s pleasantly clear that Nelson has a clear and keen eye for cinematic aesthetic.
Performances from the likes of Nainby-Luxmoore and Matt Jones aid to the subtle nature of the films communication, with their emotive but downplayed performances giving way for emphasis on tone. Some characters are a little like cartoon versions of themselves, Jerry (Peter Oliver) for example, but that is not necessarily fault on writing but perhaps an acute case of overacting. The brother’s father, David, becomes a catalyst for devastation and Graham Cawte plays the part very well. He’s a very strong presence throughout the entire narrative and his dramatic performance feels both genuine and committed.
An incredibly impressive aspect that really gives the film a professional edge is the brilliant original score from Imraan Husain. He opens the film with a suitably ominous tone and continues to help pull the narrative together with an outstanding score that mirrors the likes of bigger independent flicks.
Much like any independent film, Little Pieces often suffers slightly due to budget and shooting time but there is a heartwarming amount of passion and potential that spill from every scene. It’s quite clear that Nelson has a natural talent for storytelling and it’s with pleasure that one is able to witness the beginning of what appears to be a promising step onto feature film making.