Best Live Action Short Films

The Confession
Worried about making his first confession, nine year old boy Sam and his best friend decide to play a prank so he will have something to confess.  However, when the prank takes a tragic turn, Sam finds his guilt to be overwhelming.  First things first- the cinematography is breathtaking and certainly noteworthy, but the dark story takes an unexpected turn towards the end which leaves the story in a weird place.

The Crush
An eight year old boy has a crush on his teacher that he takes a little too far when he challenges her fiance to a duel to the death.  This film started off sweet and funny, but quickly went to a dark and angsty place.  The final scene, the duel which finds the eight year old boy with his father’s gun, was uncomfortable to watch and seemed very out of place.  In the end, everything ties up nicely and it’s back to being light hearted again.  All in all, it’s a strange ride, and while it’s as dark as The Confession, it’s not nearly as compelling.

God of Love
Ray, a lounge singer who excels in darts, prays daily for his love to be reciprocated by drum player Kelly, who is inexplicably in love with his best friend.  The gods answer Ray in the form of a mysterious package of love inducing darts.  In a year of very dark nominees, this film is such a breath of fresh air.  It’s fast talking dialogue and artistic visuals make it feel like a modern film noir.  In terms of sheer enjoyment, this was by far the best film of the bunch.

Na Wewe
In the mid 1990’s in Burundi, a van is pulled over by a group of Hutus who separate the group to weed out and kill any rival tribe members, Tutsis.  The film is intense and definitely keeps you engaged, but the violence seemed very watered down from what you’d expect to see.  While the film attempts to make light of the fact that the Hutus really cannot tell who is a Tutsi and who is not, knowing that there was so much genocide during that time makes this film feel like it’s really holding back.

Wish 143
When David, a terminal cancer patient, is offered a wish through the Make a Wish foundation, he asks to lose his virginity.  When the foundation can’t grant him his wish, David attempts to make it happen on his own, with the advice from the hospital priest, before time runs out.  This story is so touching, and accomplishes a great task for a short by making you both laugh and cry.

What Will Win: Subject matter and what the Academy tends to favor would suggest that it’s a toss up between The Confession and Na Wewe, but I think that Wish 143‘s sweet story will win over voter’s hearts and edge out ahead the rest.

What Should Win: God of Love was my favorite by a landslide.  It was original, smart, witty, and gorgeous to look at.  It’s possible it could take the award home on Oscar night (it’s really anyone’s race!), but even if it doesn’t, I think we haven’t seen the last of the immensely talented writer/director/actor Luke Matheny.