To catch it, you need it
If you need it, you can't catch it
The riddle here forms the centerpiece of writer-director Michael Wannenmacher's short film Quinkin, set in a post-apocalyptic future where two hunters, Vox (Brett Swain) and Paul (Wannenmacher himself) trek across vast, barren landscapes in search of the titular Quinkin, a shadowy creature from the Aboriginal Dreamtime. From the get go we know who amongst the two calls the shots, with Vox being very much the bullying leader and navigator, leaving most of the grunt work for Paul. This delicate balance of power is what becomes explored in this 15 minute, compact film.
Wannenmacher knows a thing or two about building suspense, which he does expertly in not falling into cliches, feeding onto the audience's apprehension and anticipation of what exactly is a Quinkin and how it actually looks like, since glimpses of it extend out of existing shadows cast by various objects, and the director gives you just enough before holding back for a future exposition. Then again the Quinkin isn't the main plot point here, unlike the shifts in the balance of power when the two men chanced upon a fallen comrade, where his notebook got pinched and a series of riddles got played, until the one above becomes the stumbling block, and obsession, for Vox.
The film then draws you in when you inevitably participate in the guessing as well, when the two men have to go about their chores to build traps in time before dusk approaches, and we see how for once Vox begin to lose his cool and his edge when his fixation to solve the riddle escalates the already tensed, bickering relationship between both men, into something a lot more deadly when fisticuffs, and weapons come into the picture. The shift in the balance of power has begun, culminating in what would be a tension filled finale that shows more of someone than meets the eye.
As with quality short films, nary a frame nor a scene is wasted in the delivery of a tightly crafted story, with solid production values in costuming, sets and art direction that makes the apocalyptic future a credible one even on a shoestring budget. The two actors share an incredible, raw chemistry that made their master-servant relationship believable, and brought to life Wannenmacher's story completely centered on the two characters. If you still haven't figured out the solution to the riddle posed at the top then perhaps it is time to give Quinkin a look!
- Before Dawn FilmsWebsite
- Quinkin Website with Trailer