Melville full movie review - Thoughtful and smart piece and a great bit of filmmaking (SUGGESTIVE SPOILERS)
This short film is about two things; men's general inability to articulate themselves when it comes to opening up, and hip-hop's power as music form full of words and intelligence.
Both of these factors appeal to me, but when I sat to watch Melville I really knew nothing about the film other than the screenshot on the front of the video (which, because it is a guy in an old-fashioned hat, made me assume it was a period piece). We open the film with sparse information but yet a clear picture; a reference to treatment followed by Marcus confronting a man outside a hospital for smoking in a car with his child, both let us know that probably he was just diagnosed with lung cancer. From here we see him interact with friends and family, but yet the topic doesn't come up but it is clear something is on his mind.
In this the film is really done well. To deliver it, the film needs to make sure the viewer understands the thoughts and struggles going on with Marcus, but yet to articulate this directly to the viewer would sort of work against the idea that Marcus isn't articulating it to anyone. The way it does deliver is engaging, with a thoughtful, reflective tone in the film generally, and in the performance of Lucas in particular. We know something has to give, and the way it does come out is equally impressive. We learn during the film that Marcus used to be active in a hip-hop group, and indeed this is one of the 'what could have been' things we see drifting over his face as he things about the present and what remains of the future. Through this he is able to communicate everything, and from the film's point of view it is forceful both as a narrative but also as a performance. It is also true to the genre since hip-hop really does tend to surprise with the smartness and deftness of the lyrical content ? sometimes even the most generic track can produce great wordplay. This wider truth, and its relevance within the character's life play well together, and while the conclusion of the film is open-ended, it is wholly satisfying.
The film looks and sounds great throughout, and there is plenty to like ? my personal highlight being that jump from silence into the onstage performance; a great edit which not only works as a piece of editing, but also is a fair representation of the size of the leap taken by Marcus in that moment. Melville is a thoughtful and smart short film, it is really worth watching now that it is online.