It’s June 20, 2012, and Maxim (Mike Mironenko) and Nastya (Nina Golovach) are driving to St. Petersburg, Russia for a brief vacation. After a brief stop at a gas station, the couple continue to their destination while Maxim talks about a magazine article predicting the end of the world in December. Idle chit-chat, until the couple see a giant cube floating over the countryside.
Vitaly Verlov’s Forever After is at its most successful in the relaxing build to the cube and subsequent events. It only hits a false note when Maxim and Nastya first notice the immense oddity. While I can’t say I would expect shouting or other stereotypical displays of freaking out, their initial demeanor is one of near sedation. The curiosity that leads them to pull over and investigate from afar doesn’t appear to have any excitement or emotion behind it. More like a “eh, we should do this, I guess.”
It is then that the film reveals that the true dramatics that exist in the moment have nothing to do with objects on the horizon, but are relationship related. While at first even that feels strikingly odd, its aftermath is pleasant enough, as it hearkens back to the naturalistic strength of the short’s start. Still, the entire second half of the short, save perhaps the final shots, are marked with a decidedly almost apathetic vibe that underwhelms.
Again, I didn’t near the couple near hysterics for it to work for me, but their reaction was significantly off-putting to the other extreme. Still, the opening of the short is strong, and the cinematography and effects are quality, but the acting midway through was just not up to the same level.
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