By Mark Bell | October 14, 2011

I’d like to tell you what Chord is about, except I’m not entirely sure myself. A woman, Talissa (Maria Gruending), collapses in a parking lot, and is rescued and taken in by another, Ann (Arnica Skulstad Brown). As Talissa comes to and has trouble communicating with Ann, we’re treated to footage seemingly from Talissa’s youth… except it’s like no youth we’ve known. Her father, for instance, appears to be working on an omnipresent computer touchscreen (similar to the 3D-style graphics in Tony Stark’s laboratory in Iron Man), creating a system where one can tap the air and see and hear a ripple of a soundwave. He shows his daughter this before they are interrupted and are forced to go on the run.

As the short rolls on, we get more information, but not very much. Talissa goes by the name “Chord,” for example, and when she’s regained enough of her memory, seems capable of creating the same 3D-style computer touchscreen methods her father employed. Why she’s there, who she is running from and where she’s from, however, remains a mystery all the way until the end.

Is she from the future? What’s with the soundwaves? Her tattoos? Who is the guy with the glowing eyes who just materialized in an alley (and, we’re assuming, will be chasing after Talissa shortly)? What is going on!?!

At 12 minutes, Chord packs a lot in but doesn’t reveal much at all. This is all set-up, which is fine, but I really wanted to know where it was heading. Is this the beginning of a series of shorts, or is the mystery part of creating a standalone project? To the short’s credit, I want to know more and would watch the next segment, should it exist, to find out.

Story aside, Chord maintains a cloudy, murky look, giving the illusion of a memory. This visual style is effective in keeping the eye as off-balance as the mind is while trying to figure out what’s going on. Additionally, the effects work is competent and interesting enough, though certain elements of the short stray into cliche (the 3D touchscreen was also popular in Minority Report, and we’ve been having bums find strange people materialize in alleys since The Terminator). Still, it all works, even if it is frustratingly vague about what’s going on.

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