Madi Stine’s Out Of Water is a stunning work of creative genius, touching performances and stellar production design. All of 12:44-minutes, the film’s narrative offers a breathtaking, visual treat of shiny blues, oceans and a surprising friendship struck between the two, most dissimilar people (or are they?)
Sandy (Marlee Learner) is a professional mermaid, hired by Camille’s (Anabelle Murphy) mother for the latter’s birthday. Camille who is fascinated by mermaids looks longingly at Sandy as she performs trick after trick to an unassuming crowd. It’s evident from the very opening scene, Learner and Murphy are fantastic actors. Their chemistry effortlessly translates on to the screen. So good is their camaraderie that even without the brilliant production design, it would have been easy to be convinced of their fantastical world.
But, coming to the production design; Beibei Hu deserves a good round of applause. The care taken to set each scene into a living-breathing reality cannot be overlooked. Be it the party scene, which barely lasts for a few minutes, or the one where Sandy takes Camille to show her her work, or even the car which is Sandy’s makeshift home, the effort put in to maintain the authenticity is simply marvellous. Likewise, Chloée O’Hayon-Crosby who does a fantastic job with the costumes needs a special mention. It’s crew members like Hu & O’Hayon-Crosby who make the magic of cinema palpable.
As the story progresses, we sense the danger looming around. One is naive, the other is experienced. Both are bound by their desire to believe in a world that is idealistic. One has reasons to, the other is the reason to. And as we navigate through their newfound friendship, we are confronted with our own memories of innocence and childhood. Those stories we were read out to, accompanied us well until our adolescence. And, then were lost to time. But, with Camille we go back to being one, even when Sandy helps us remain rooted to our reality. And, that is the beauty of Stine’s Out Of Water. It confronts, reflects and compels us to introspect.
And, as Robert Nachman’s cinematography takes us through pools, tanks and oceans with unmatchable dexterity it binds us to the story of Sandy and Camille with an invisible connect, despite the varying settings. Add to that, Sophie Dick’s editing which is neat and crisp, keeping the timeline well under 15-minutes while retaining its effectiveness, Out Of Water is a must-watch!
Learner and Murphy offer stellar performances. The last scene in particular is compelling because of their ability to play off of each other. What happens when an illusion breaks? What happens when dreams don’t live up to their promise? Out of Water is a moving film touching upon the chords of human existence in a dreamlike sequence that only magical stories are capable of. And, when Zach Lemmon’s music sways you into one such story, you don’t resist it!
Watch Out of Water Short Film Trailer
Out Of Water: A Fantastical Tale Of Myths, Fables & Friendship