Dropping Out by Niko Gonzalez

While watching this film a major question came to my mind as to what is real and what is not; at one point I was more than certain that the younger sister “Chloe” was not real (most probably recently passed away) and all of this was in the mind of the others. Why do I say that? Two things that got me thinking; the first was the dress she was wearing, it was obviously winter time (from what the others had on and the weather) and she was the only wearing a summer dress all through the work, the other thing was her reactions when things got heated they didn’t always make sense as to the level of stillness she was in.

Talking about the screenplay, writer/director “Niko Gonzalez” succeeded in putting together a tightly plausible piece of work with all the dramatic elements neatly integrated thus creating a multi-layered script that is highly appealing. Acting wise, it is clear that this is the result of real team effort and we the synergy and harmony between all of the actors can be fervently felt thus producing an exceptional performance that is absolutely memorable and convincing.

Technically, it is hard to believe that this is “Gonzalez’s” first time as a filmmaker working on a university project since he was more than able to reveal true maturity and a high level of professionalism in both his cinematography and ‘mise en scene”, his choice of angles and frames played a major role in transporting the viewers into the world of each and every scene and have them involved in this emotionally packed short film, the color pallet selected on the other hand enhanced the desired mood and made the visualization all the more enjoyable. The rare use of music underlines “Gonzalez’s” understanding of how and when it should be implemented and that it is not always needed but rather should be avoided if it becomes a forcing emotional trigger element.

In conclusion, and as the director himself says this film deals with the concept of “otherness” among siblings ( a topic that has been dealt with over and over again) but what makes this film special is the way that “Gonzalez” was able to deliver his work in a very witty and clever manner making the film a must see and a product that both the crew and cast can be more than proud of.

N.Khouri Ph.D 

Monthly Indie Shorts 

About Niko

Born and raised in California, Nicholas “Niko” Gonzalez developed a passion for the arts at a young age. After pursuing music for most of his life, a chance encounter with a college film course led him on his current path. He moved to North Carolina at age 20, studying film at Blue Ridge Community College from 2014 to 2017. Completing the program with an Associate of Arts Degree in Film and Video Production Technology, he moved to Cullowhee in 2018 to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Western Carolina University’s School of Stage & Screen; he graduated from WCU’s program in 2021. Now with his second degree in hand, the future is wide open…


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