Colors Under a Cloud opens with a man (Nathan Rippy) and a woman (Fiamma Bennett) sitting at a table in a coffee shop. As they argue, it becomes apparent that the man is a writer, trying to tell a story about a couple in a coffee shop who talk about “problems.” This doesn’t impress the woman, who is actually a figment of the man’s creation, offering a running commentary on the quality of his story as he thinks it up. Halfway through the short, she is replaced by an older man (Gregory Good), with his own opinions about the writer’s floundering story, who sits down for a game of checkers.
A film like this runs the risk of being too clever and therefore, as the main characters discuss, possibly losing the audience. Despite that risk, however, Colors Under a Cloud keeps the discussion of story, and a writer lost for words, insightful. The idea of telling a story while the characters talk about all the pluses and minuses of the story, while the film itself shows you the story, allows for some fun meta-adventure, and any writer who has ever found themselves arguing subconsciously (or perhaps out loud) with a creation of their own will likely relate.
On the visual side, the film utilizes a mix of black and white and color to illustrate some of its ideas, and it works, as does the title, seemingly as the filmmaker had hoped. The acting is quality all around, and even at his most pretentious, Nathan Rippy’s Man never comes across as unlikeable. More like what he is; lost. And again, if you’ve ever sat down to write or create anything, you can probably relate on some level.
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