Short Film Review: VALOR’S DAWN (2015) – A Short Story Set Against An Epic Backdrop
Having been exposed to short films only recently, I’m astonished at the amount of emotion and content they are able to convey, in such little time. ‘Valor’s Dawn’ had me reacting in a similar manner, as a short film that focuses on heartbreaking loss during a war set in Roman times.
Here is my spoiler-free Movie Review of ‘Valor’s Dawn’ written, directed by and starring Reed Clare.
‘Valor’s Dawn’ is the story of a warrior and father who pays the ultimate price during a battle of the Roman war. On a trip to visit the grave of his wife and mother of his child, Ambiorix (Reed Clare) and his son, accidentally find themselves amidst a battle between opposing forces. Reluctantly having to stand his ground and protect his son, the ensuing battle causes Ambiorix a loss that haunts him for the end of his days.
With a shorter run time that can be expected from an epic setting as this, ‘Dawn’s Valor’ immediately establishes the relationship between the main characters with very quiet camera work, still frames and somber music.The natural charm of lead actor Reed Clare, who also directs and writes the story, cements the fatherly love that Ambiorix has for his son, with as little dialogue as possible.
While the scope of the story is large, the limitations of the short film restrict the action set pieces. Despite that, the sequences aren’t terrible and work within the nature of the story. The contrast in camera movement during these sequences also creates great separation of the story from earlier, as it imitates the savage nature of war. ‘Valor’s Dawn‘ isn’t an action movie, but rather an emotional tale of personal devastation set in the background of the rise and fall of nations.
Outside of Bollywood films, it’s rare to see one person’s talent spread across multiple roles within a film’s production. Reed Clare achieves this by producing, writing, directing and starring in ‘Dawn’s Valor‘, and he does each without compromising the quality of his output in the other roles. The actor in Clare has a raw charisma as well that adds to his performance as a doting father in one scene, to a man with nothing to lose in another. While I personally could have done without the voice over narration through out the film, it provides an almost Shakesperean element to the storytelling that adds to the nuances and symbolism of the story.
As happen when talented people get together, this short also surprisingly features some other very recently favourited filmmakers of mine behind the camera in other roles. The film is edited by Navin Ramaswaran, director of ‘Chasing Valentine‘, while the camera work features the talent of Christine Buijs, director of the quirky ‘Divorce Photographer’.
‘Dawn’s Valor’ truly makes plain the fact that regardless of the run time, the scale of the emotional depth in a story matters more, even when put against the backdrop of an epic war.