Saba’s short film, About A Week, follows the troubled Rye (Saba) as his teenage compatriot, Alice (Lorian Gish), pushes him to explain what has him so upset. Reluctantly, and in more words than are necessary as he dances around the obvious (painting his role of “drug dealer” as more of a seller of “goods” when, come on, who does he think he’s bullshitting here (besides himself, that is)), Rye tells the story of a drug deal gone horribly wrong, and what that may or may not mean for Rye.
The short states in the open that it is a short adaptation of a feature length screenplay, and the knowledge doesn’t color what is to come as explain why it is as hurried as it sometimes feels, and why its ending is left as open as it is. I can’t say whether a feature-length version of this tale would be all the elements played out naturally as opposed to being referenced in a flashback, or whether this is just the intro to tale that is to come, but I don’t think it is necessary to place it in order to appreciate it.
For one, I’m a fan of the camerawork in the film. Beyond the image looking good, the composition remains interesting without screaming “look at me and how unique I am,” and the film also employs some solid camera moves that work to enhance the moment. All around, visually strong.
The acting feels a little one-note, however. Saba’s Rye is supposed to be troubled, and he acts haunted at first, but once the meat of the tale starts to flow out, it just becomes like any other conversation. I’m not saying I need histrionics and ham-friendly acting, but it all adds up to equal this emotional middle line that it doesn’t quite stray from. Thus suspenseful moments never feel suspenseful, and you never connect on any other level than information intake.
This results in a film that seems like it should have some more drama to it, but instead somehow comes off as light-hearted. Not quite comical, not quite serious. Some gore and violence here and there. If I were to try to guess what tone the larger story would be, I’d be at a loss, because I’m still not entirely sure what this was.
In the end, as a standalone short, I think About A Week tells an interesting enough tale, or at least tells it with enough talent, to justify the time it would take to watch it. I don’t think it’s an exceptional short film, and I think if this is a trial-run for a feature film, some decisions need to be made about tone. Matter-of-fact gets all the info in, but it doesn’t entice you to remember for too long after.
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