Waking Eyes is a visually captivating short film with high production values, solid acting, and a narrative that’s cohesive and linear while existing in a realm of surrealism. Director Sarah R. Lofti tackles a difficult undertaking in portraying a subconscious journey yet she does it with confidence and competence. Following a young blonde woman through all-white infinities and military gatherings, it becomes increasingly clear that she’s not experiencing a typical dream. The truth is much darker. The narrative regularly drops hints but when the third act delivers an unexpected plot twist the true weight of the conflict is revealed.
Waking Eyes stays centered around its conflict which helps assure that the film never crosses over into clichéd territories. A large portion of the film takes place in a surreal realm and enough importance was placed on keeping the viewer connected to the plot that these sequences were not too long, unnecessarily convoluted, or over the top. Lofti’s film walks a fine line but thankfully it succeeds where a lot of other films (both mainstream and independent) have failed in the past.
The film succeeds both structurally and technically. Director of Photography Dennison Howard should be commended for the clarity of the project’s imagery and the beautiful representations of the subconscious. Daniel Vendt’s score accompanies the editing nicely and assists the viewer acclimate and familiarize themselves with the unusual reality where most of the film takes place. When bits of the dialogue sound a bit stilted or off, it’s Vendt’s score that reminds the viewer that everything is off and that the rules are different here. And watching a narrative develop under these different rules is what makes Walking Eyes worth watching.
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