The Grey Town by Justin Smothers

As sad and backward as it seems, the issue that “The grey town” deals with still exists laying heavily on our societies and people should be ashamed if they still think in a discriminative manner towards people that they think are  “different” from them, it is no longer accepted that in the twenty first century people still judge based on skin color. The way that director “Justin Smothers” portrayed this matter through his work shows a high level of maturity and a real understanding of how to approach such a topic with everything involved.

The script could best be described as a thrilling, full of tension piece of writing with a realistic build up that reveals an intense and powerful climax, add to that the genuine and convincing flow of events combined with the dialogues makes it all the more exciting giving the viewers the ability to really get involved in each and every moment of the work. Acting wise, it is obvious that proper research and careful study of each character was performed so that they all seemed to be in perfect harmony with each other and were able to deliver a great performance that reflected the desired outcome, this intensity and realism can be especial felt in the scene with the presumed judge giving his home made deliberation to the main character.

Technically, what strikes out the most is the careful choice of frames; the symmetry and balance reminds us of the legendary work of director “Stanley Kubrick” in his masterpiece “The Shining”

(fig 1 & 2)

One can easily fell the depth in the shots as they hold great significance to what will happen next; in both films these locations are imperative to the development of the plot. Another example of this careful symmetry is (Fig. 3 & 4 ) where we see in (Fig 3) each character on one side of the frame and the lamp in the middle as if hope of a resolution is still available, only to be covered by the “Judge” if “Willy Smith” does not comply to his demands.

Talking about the color pallet chosen, it is obvious that the choice made by director “Justin Smothers” to work with mostly dark colors reflects his understanding of the language of film making ; the low key light effect creates the gloomy atmosphere all along the film and makes it all the more a real thrill to watch. The scarce use of music (probably two or three instances through out the whole film) translates the intensity of the tightly knitted plot who doesn’t need any external factors to enhance it or make it more gripping, this is a true challenge to the filmmaker where we find a lot of them relying heavily on music and sound effects to force a certain mood on the viewers.

To wrap it up and as mentioned early on, unfortunately we live in a world where such incidents as we saw in “The Grey Town” still exists, by shedding light on it as director “Justin Smothers” and his team did the hope remains that through awareness this kind of mentality and behavior would cease to exist and we could learn to accept one another regardless of any external factors. A must see film for everybody and especially for those who are willing to admit that it is about time to move on past any kind of discriminative behavior that would only result in more and more hate and prejudice.

N.Khouri Ph.D

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