Review by Lew Antonie
Shaman Harsha offers up a psychological thriller/horror movie/crime drama hybrid for our approval. And put it in one short film. In Half Truth, Harsha’s sharp direction, camera work, and editing blended beautifully with Justin Swartz’ subtle script, allowing us to feel tension from the onset.
As the film dictates, a man (who killed his wife) is questioned about how he did it and why. Or so we think. What follows is a dark game of question and answer/cat & mouse/true or false revealing what we already know – this man killed his wife. But, thanks to Harsha’s clever use of camera angles and don’t blink editing, what should be reveals become more deceptions. Did this man kill his wife? Is this a doctor examining him? A character even disappears … or does he? And way does he look like the doctor? The allure is whether we are watching a confession, a dream, or a drug-addled mirage? Is this real or is he being framed or is he insane? Is he in a hospital room or a prison or is he at home and this is happening in real time.
Harsha’s direction and cinematography coupled with Shailesh Rao’s lonely piano music led down a retro path leading to the Twilight Zone or Night Gallery. Ojesh Sancheti as the tormented criminal/victim was suitably hysterical/terrified even in his most still moments, always looking a bit disheveled – outside and in; while Abhishek Sircar never once made us feel comfortable – which was great – thanks to whisper tones and flawless shadow effects courtesy of Harsha.
This clever foray into noir-style mystery could easy serve as a pilot for an engaging television series or elaborate feature film. And that would be welcome as Shaman Harsha handles his camera work like a virtuoso on a piano.