Lynne Ramsay

film 1 of 4

Small Deaths

Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 26, 2015

Scots writer-director Ramsay’s first short film is kind of schematic, though it’s intelligently, promisingly so. Its first episode is probably the most effective, because it’s so muted and modest. Things seem friendly, even kind of tender. There are details in the design, in the characters’ interactions, especially in the sound (this throughout her work) that might suggest accord and tenderness. But what’s with Dad? He expresses gratitude for that haircut, but there’s a stillness, and he doesn’t answer. “Are you coming hame the night?”

The second episode is very pretty. The idyll that those pretty, pale little Celtic girls enjoy out there in the country is mutedly rapturous, which is a phrase in considerable conflict with itself, and a very good directorial trick. The visual and editorial lead-up to the revelation is terrific. The revelation—the world is cruel, as it turns out—works conceptually, but seems just a bit heavy dramatically. The last part, where innocence ends, is quiet, seemingly inconsequential, pretty distressing. Promising!