A woman silently prepares dinner, somewhat tense in the way one would be if you felt your dinner partner will be late, which is applicable because that is precisely the situation. As dinner is set out, lit candles and all, a man returns home presumably from work, grabbing a beer and good-naturedly sitting down to eat, oblivious to the disappointment rising from the woman at the table. She says nothing, however.
Nic Barker’s short film, No Road, plays out like a silent film, reveling in the strength of the scenario over dialogue and obvious explanations. The basic elements are there, but it’s more a study of a singular experience that is a jumping off point for our imaginations, or more appropriately our feelings. We don’t always need the spoken specifics if the emotions come across.
And those emotions carry the day, escalating a quiet tension until we hit our resolution, bombastic in its reserved way; there’s no shouting or melodrama, but the ending hits as strongly as if there was. The pain of silent solitude has built steadily in the film’s short running time, and its effect is powerful on the audience.
Ultimately, while the scenario itself is nothing new, the various unspoken elements still manage to elevate the situation beyond routine. Ideas are given by what we think we see, how we interpret certain elements or how we feel as it moves along. This makes this quiet work stand out, and while the technical aspects of the filmmaking aren’t particularly notable, they are more than capable of delivering the foundation No Road needs to succeed.
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