Written and directed by David Penman and leading actor Gary Wales, a seemingly normal family man goes out for a date night with his wife, after a night spent drinking heavily and taking an assortment of drugs, things take a nasty turn when they return home. His life spirals when it’s all mixed together. Also starring: Lara FullertonBailey PenmanRosie SteelMichaela SweeneyPaul LapsleyPaul Lee and Barry Smith.

Deciding to take on heavy, poignant issues through the format of short film is always a challenge and with Rage, it feels as though David Penman and Gary Wales, tried to tackle a few too many. Sadly, there simply isn’t the time to really delve into all of them, with addiction, domestic abuse, anger management and mental health. It’s an admirable task to take on but to do them justice in the space of twenty minutes is extremely difficult and doesn’t feel successful here.

Part of that issue is how the story is framed, it focuses on the perpetrator Alex (Gary Wales) and feels as though it’s trying to give a surprisingly sympathetic perspective. While you can understand that from a view of exploring how people with rage and addiction issues need help, it’s also leaving the story of those directly impacted by the wayside. Giving the importance to his actions rather than highlighting how they negatively impact others and what needs to be done, which feels misguided and uncomfortable. It quickly feels as though the focus is in the wrong place, to truly serve the bigger picture and depth of these issues.

It’s something that’s also impacted by the directorial choices, leaning on some overt, poorly angled shots, which makes building up a bigger sincerity difficult. Sadly, the same goes for the performances, the emotion isn’t quite there, struggling to hit genuine notes. They’re then impacted by the score, which is heavy-handed and portraying too transparently the emotions that it’s trying to inject into the scenes, rather than supporting them or helping them to arise organically.

Rage has very admirable intentions but the atmosphere, depth and impact aren’t there. It feels as though this was too much of a challenge, trying to fit so much into so little time when the themes are very complex. You can see what it was going for, but the focus is one-sided and pushes the perspective into a weaker place, leaving it with too much sympathy and not enough poignancy.

Verdict: ✯✯ | 4/10

Make your own verdict by watching Rage below

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