Top Shorts Review: The Final Mission

December 31, 2019

 

Jas Anderson as Lex

 

The Final Mission is an independent short film, written and directed by Winston James. In this thriller/crime film, three partners in crime partners are putting their trust in a test, after one of them gave the police information to law enforcement.

 

Amadeo Fusca as Crane and Jas Anderson as Lex

 

Let's start with the opening scene. The film opens with an intense scene, as Lex (Jas Anderson) suspects Crane (Amadeo Fusca) that he’s the snitch. When Crane denies and blames Lex's cousin (“You think I snitched?… Your cousin Dante might be the snitch”), Lex loses his temper, and almost kills Crane. What a great way to open a film. This kind of opening scene is also risky, as it starts in a very high point of conflict and tension. The director's challenge is to somehow find bigger conflicts, increase the tension as the story progresses. 

 

In the following scenes, writer-director Winston James manages to do that by creating plot twists and complications that force the characters to make tough decisions. 

 

Amadeo Fusca as Crane

 

Jas Anderson and Amadeo Fusca’s performances are impressive. They show a wide range of emotions, using rich subtext. The supporting actors are convincing in their performances, as well: from Victoria Guthrie and Peter O'Hara who play the detectives, to Clinton Lowe who plays the third part of the criminals' triangle, Dante. Even though he appears only in one scene, Clinton Lowe adds exactly the right amount of tension to the scene. Is he the snitch? Does he manipulate his cousin, Lex? Since both Clinton and Amadeo (the other suspect) are so convincing, it's really hard to tell at that point.

 

Clinton Lowe as Dante

 

The fact that Lex suspects both of his friends equally, creates an increasing tension between the characters. Once the first gunshot is heard, several plot twists change the balance of power one time after another. 

 

Jas Anderson, Amadeo Fusca and Clinton Lowe

 

The cinematography and editing fit the pace, and add drama to the story. We loved the use of natural light by Director of Photography, Josef Orlandi, especially in the interior scenes. 

 

The dialogue works well throughout - street slang that fits the characters, short lines which feel natural in such an environment, unexpected reactions - all of these make the characters unique and interesting. While some lines in the climax are repetitive, the drama and tension are at their highest point. 

 

Victoria Guthrie and Peter O'Hara as the detectives

 

The Final Mission is a film about the ultimate conflict, trust, in a world where this word is more meaningful than anything else. In this tragic story, you can’t expect to have winners in the end. 

 

 

About the director:

 

Winston C. James is a writer, director and producer who looks to create high quality films allowing viewers an escape while still looking at reality head-on.

 

In high school he performed in student productions and studied at the renowned acting school HB Studio. After majoring in broadcasting at Brooklyn College he continued to educate himself by working hands-on in numerous disciplines in the field, for both independent and commercial productions. He then brought those experiences to his truest passion, producing and directing narrative film.

 

His first film set was on the independent feature film 'Fork in the Road' (2006) as the director's assistant, where he translated his skills in broadcast production to the new environment and began to master the new medium. He produced and directed the shorts 'Mind Stroll' (2009), 'Hannah's World' (2010) and 'Raw Tension' (2016), all of which screened at various festivals. His latest film is the short dramatic thriller 'The Final Mission'.

 

 

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