This fantasy short from director Mark J. Blackman starts with Mary (Kerry Bennett) receiving a phone call at her office desk from her boyfriend Elias (Joe Absolom) for him to apologise that he can no longer see her due to his work commitments. It turns out that he, in his own words, is a “matchmaker” - an angel-like being tasked with bringing would-be lovers together but unable to enter a relationship himself. Neon’s story flashes back to his past life as an overdosing drug addict and then back to the present as he tells Mary he’s trying to find a way out of his desperate situation.
Neon has been selected for a number of film festivals recently and clearly shows writer/director Mark J. Blackman as possessing genuine talent. The story vaguely resembles a more violent Wings of Desire. Stylistically the film recalls both Nicholas Winding Refn and early Ridley Scott with its graceful use of dark shades, slo-mo, soft focus rain showers and (as the title suggests) plentiful Neon lighting. Moreover the storytelling is emotive and thrilling, the phone call acting as a heartfelt narration over a tapestry of intense images flashing backward and forwards through time, the drama heightened by a soaring score by Paul O’Brien. The production is technically very slick with some impressive special effects. There’s some brief gore that may be a little wince-inducing for some viewers, but it’s not as extreme as some films out there. The performances, particularly from the central couple of Jo Absolom and Kerry Bennett, are believable and engaging.
It’s really enjoyable and a must-catch if it’s playing at a festival near you. Hopefully Mark J. Blackman will get the chance to make a feature-length film sometime soon.
Runtime: 15 mins
Dir: Mark J. Blackman
Script: Mark J. Blackman
Starring: Joe Absolom, Kerry Bennett, Bill Hutchens, Fraser James