The New Zealand film community is a marketplace where there is no shortage of talent or creative ideas; because of this only our most persistent and dedicated filmmakers get their creations onto the silver screen. Gaining funding for a project in the New Zealand industry is likened to winning Powerball. Blindside’s director and producer Dimi Nakov has overcome this constraint that plagues the New Zealand industry by mobilising a volunteer cast and crew on a shoestring budget. Through this Blindside gained entry to various festivals including Cannes Short Film Corner in 2012.
Blindside is a short film project that follows Becky (Jordon Buckwell), a young adolescent who has become victim to domestic violence in a murky split family situation. Her mother’s new boyfriend Marshall (Tonci Pivac) exhibits textbook controlling behaviour of a traditional male with psychosis (plus a little bit more). Becky’s Police Officer father John (Paul Thomas Lewis) becomes suspicious of signs exhibited by Becky and Marshall and instinctively does what any father would.
What gave Blindside its edge was its dark undertone. Very appropriate considering the main theme is domestic violence. The lighting, graphics and makeup in the film were consistent and synchronised in perfect harmony. The opening title was dark in tone and matched up with the pool almost as if it was fate. Little did I know this lifeless title in a cold pool was setting the scene for a gritty conclusion. Scenes in the film that featured Marshall (Tonci Pivac) were always dark, whether it was through the selection of a dark suit, dim lighting or just his cut throat personality that stole all the life from a room. His consistent unpredictability intrigued me in the Blindside because of this consistent darkness.
Though an engaging short Flick Blindside was not without small do-over’s . The character of Marshall seemed too excessively pushed to be the villain. At times it felt like in my own mind he was carrying a sign on back saying “I’m the baddie”. This was because of lines that were consistently used that would not be as frequent even for an antagonist who wanted to be caught. The final scene when he stated “You know what’s great about living out around here…” was too justifying of the scenes motivation and removed me from my engagement in the false reality I was thoroughly enjoying.
It’s a comforting thought knowing that there are New Zealand film makers that are persistent and dedicated enough to produce festival level content on shoestring budget. Blindside is testament that New Zealand film makers need to get out and explore their skills and find their style. Although Blindside lacked some grains of subtlety when communicating with the audience, it was enjoyable.