REVIEW: ‘Borrowed Time’ – Masterclass in Emotive Storytelling

Telling an effective story can be a challenge for even the most skilled writers. Deciding how to engage your audience in your narrative without giving them too much information, or too little, is an ability not every person has.

With short films, this challenge tends to increase in difficulty. You have a smaller canvas to fill, but it needs to be more evocative if you want your viewer to remember it. This means you need a story that not only captures your viewers attention, but it needs to be told in such a way that they’ll remember it years after watching it. A recent effort that was made available online this week is Borrowed Time, a six minute short directed and written by Pixar animators Andrew Coates and Lou Hamou-Lhadj.

The film tells the story of a weathered sheriff that returns to the scene of an accident he lived through a long time ago. His backstory is unfolded through flashbacks interchanged with small steps towards the site in question. The bleak colors and mellow score by Academy Award winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel; Brokeback Mountain) create a dreary world for the sheriff to live in. With slight emotive changes in certain parts of the present tense timeline, the film eloquently conveys the emotions of the sheriff without any dialogue. During the flashback, what little dialogue is used adds to the characters present tense emotional state.

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With a runtime of six minutes, Coates and Hamou-Lhadj create a film with more emotional impact than most 2 hour Hollywood flicks. It is a powerful masterclass in how to tell evocative and emotional stories. Hopefully Pixar takes note and gives this duo a chance with a feature length movie.

Kris Solberg
Kris Solberg
26 year old Norwegian native. Fond of writing, reading comics, watching movies, playing games, and anything else that might peak my interest.