Directed by: Jacob Thompson
Written by: Jacob Thompson
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A lot of people use smoking to calm themselves. It's no different for the young man here who has found himself a nice spot for a cancer stick. As the teen lights up he begins to reflect - to remember an event from earlier that evening. An event involving a man, possibly his pops, and a gun. The identity of the older man is for us to guess - but not really important to this story.
As the teen smokes away us viewers are shown exactly what happened. Not what started things, and no hint of what happens when the credits start. We see the event. We see the teen smoking and thinking about it - as his hands shake. Much like the camera. A lot is shrouded in mystery and remains that way after the film ends.
Jacob Thompson's short film Smoke is an interesting title in premise, but lacks any real polish or story to make it memorable. It's overly long and drawn out, and that's saying a lot because it's only about 6 minutes. But around half the movie, about 3 minutes of it, is of the young man literally sitting there. No flashbacks to the story. Nothing. Just 3 minutes of a guy sitting with a smoke. Had this been a longer title, that would have been fine. But C'mon? Half the entire film and nothing happens?
Smoke deals with some shaky subject matter, especially in light of the world today. But that doesn't mean it needs to contain excessive hand held, shaky shots. There is a portion of this title where the camera is reasonably stable, and not vomit inducing because of the motion. But a lot - is shaky. I can understand the actual 'event' being shaky. To convey anger and reaction - but nothing more. I don't know when not at least using a tripod became a thing - but it really takes a viewer out of a film.
I would have also loved to have seen more story. What happened to start this? Who was this man and why do we have to guess? What happened after? Is there a moral to this story? There are no answers here. Just an ambiguous story. With that said, Smoke is still a little haunting to watch and is, in fact, totally watchable. It's not like this is a bad film or anything like that. It's just that a half hour after watching it, you'll likely forget it. Had this been around 4 minutes, editing out all the unneeded footage, it would have been better received by me. As a reflection piece of sorts. As it sits right now? Not good, but not bad either. 2 stars, depending on the audience, maybe 2.5.