In the realm of innovative cinematic storytelling, neo-noir has been particularly dominant over the last 15 or 20 years thanks to films like Memento, Brick, Mulholland Drive, and The Usual Suspects, to name a few.
Today’s selection for short of the day, The Pavement from director Taylor Engel and writer Christopher Connors, fits that mold then shatters it with some of the most innovative and spellbinding storytelling I’ve honestly ever come across, short film, feature film, TV series or otherwise.
I don’t want to say too much because how the story unfurls is its genius, but speaking broadly, we are provided a series of sensory clues in voiceover by the man at the center of the action. Each time he gets to the end of his disjointed story, he jumps back and tells it again, remembering more details. This happens five, six times, and each time we get a more complete picture of just what’s happened, and the way Connors tells it, each new cycle adds a deeper level of deception.
I know my undying love of cinema and those who make it can make me a little hyperbolic from time to time, I know this, but speaking with as much authority as I have to give, The Pavement is something brand new, something ingenious, and something I for one would love to see spread across a feature-length film. Engel complements the vague circuit of Connors’ script with elegant and intimate black-and-white cinematography that not only invokes the feel and atmosphere of noir, but places its context somewhere outside of time and instead in memory, making for a surreal and superior finished product.
At only 3+ minutes, you have time to stop what you’re doing and check out The Pavement, then check it out again to catch what you missed the first go around. Engel was a top 10 finalist for Project Greenlight for this film, and having not seen the other entrants, I’m still pretty certain he got robbed for not winning it all. This has my highest possible recommendation.