Late one night, a man at a gas station discovers a briefcase sitting in the shadows near him. He opens it up, never revealing to the audience what’s inside. Whatever it is, the man is intrigued by what he sees but before we can learn more, police arrive and the man dashes off into the night.
At this point there’s obvious intrigue and peril but what transpires is poorly fleshed out and really badly lit. While writer/star Nate Golon and director Andre Welsh are more than likely shooting for a bigger picture, as if this short film is part of a bigger puzzle or feature, as a standalone film it’s pretty lacking.
I feel funny griping about poor lighting in what was clearly a low-budget production, but the first half of the short takes place at night. It’s hard to form a bond or want to care for a guy on the run if you can’t see his face because it’s too poorly lit. I also suspect the filmmakers might have been going for a film noir look, and that would make sense as there’s definitely a noir vibe to the film, but to me it looked like bad lighting and didn’t add to the suspense.
Lighting issues aside, director Welsh has a good eye for composition and shoots some nice angles that add to the boxed in or confused feel of the film. Golon is a very good actor and once some light gets shed on the film and the situation, the film picks up a bit. But then more unexplained weirdness happens and before you can even process these new events, the film ends. Again, I’m almost certain “Briefcase” is part of a bigger picture or story but (if I’m right about that) the film needs to intrigue more than confuse.
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