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REVIEW: “Name” (short)

What’s in a name? For our lead protagonist, the one thing she can’t remember about the man she loved, a man who died violently from an outbreak that decimated the human race, is his name. All the memories of shared laughs, tears, and lust are there — but why can she not just remember his name?

The irony of this short film, directed by Jeremy M. Brown, is that neither the man or the woman who are the focus of this story, have a name. They are credited neatly as “Woman” and “Man”. But as Woman continues to dwell over emotional memories of what love and life were like before the end of mankind, which has left her stranded and alone in a desolate world, she struggles to remember just that one last detail: what was his name?

Her dead lover’s name is merely a MacGuffin, a carrot on the end of a stick to lead us through her story, from a picture-perfect beginning towards a sadly tragic ending. The bulk of what leads us to our present-day protagonist is told through her memories, as she recalls loving moments with her man: a candlelight dinner; a passionate night of lovemaking; a panicked retreat from hordes of an infected and rabid populace; and to the last melancholy days as she cares for her infected lover, in which their final moments together finally trigger her memory.

“Name” is a story of love, a love that stands the test of horrific circumstances. It asks our protagonist repeatedly, what is life without love or rather, how does love last when life does not?

Stylistically, the audience is taken from a bleak and desolate present-day to a more colorful and emotional past through flashbacks. Cinematographer John Wee does an excellent job of bringing the audience from one environment to the other, and in collaboration with the director, the sweet moments of romance are strongly contrasted with the chaos of a couple fleeing for their lives, and then back to a calm yet barren recluse of sanctuary as they try to make a new life and a new home.

While the zombie-like outbreak can lead one to classify this short film as a “zombie” or “horror” film, I would consider it more of a sci-fi love story. It’s horror elements are not framed to scare the audience, but rather to show the bond of the lead characters, even in ultra-real circumstances. And the romantic aspects are not all “Ryan Gosling in the rain” for the tender-hearted to swoon over, though there is a touch of this. “Name” is a nice hybrid of story-types that merge well within 10 minutes of cinema.

With adult themes, but nothing touching on “hard-core”, this short should be easily enjoyed by action/sci-fi/fantasy/horror fans teen-aged and above.

Official Trailer: