Hostage Takes Control in Surprising Ways

Short of the Day

A sharp and witty short from Fernando Andres.

If you’ve ever been in a bad relationship, you know it can feel a little like being held hostage. You’re in stasis because of the relationship despite the fact that it’s stopped working for you, either because of a misguided sense of loyalty, or dependence, or lethargy; too often we stay in bad relationships because we’re too lazy to take the drastic steps needed to improve our lives. So instead we stick around, let the issues fester even more, and end up alienating affection, or withdrawing emotionally, or, occasionally, taking other lovers, which in turn makes us a hostage to our own secrets.

In the following short film from Fernando Andres, entitled Hostage, the notion of what it means to be trapped in a relationship is turned on its head in a brief and electric seven-minute, single-take conversation between college couple Ellie (Lauren Hatfield) and Vince (Max Torrez). What starts out as a sure-fire deal-breaker ends up the impetus for a new kind of relationship by short’s end, one that takes the term “hostage” to a new arena.

Besides being a dark slice of interpersonal drama, the technical aspects of Hostage impress as well. In a single-take, Andres and his D.o.P. Leo Aguirre manipulate the camera closer and closer to his actors, drawing us deeper and deeper into their intimate turmoil. By the end of the film we feel like we’re in bed with them, experiencing the same aftershocks.

Hatfield, who comes across like a devilishly-empowered Rory Gilmore, and Torrez, the perfect beefcake horndog, both offer performances that strike a balance between innocent and devious, and Hatfield especially subverts expectations of the jilted girlfriend in surprising and powerful ways.

I and other One Perfect Shot readers know Mr. Andres as a talented video essayist, but I have to admit he’s an even better filmmaker, and as he’s still a young man, there’s nothing but potential ahead of him. Checkout his other work here and keep him on your radar. His is a name you’ll be hearing again.

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