Film Review: Dawn (2014)

Release Date: January 16th, 2014 (Sundance)
Directed by: Rose McGowan
Written by: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller
Music by: Elijah Hanford
Cast: Tara Lynne Barr, Reiley McClendon, Hannah Marks, Michael Moskewicz, Julia Sanford, John Grady

Black Dog Films, BlackDog Films, RSA Films, 17 Minutes

Review:

Dawn is the directorial debut of Rose McGowan. It is a short film with a running time of seventeen minutes.

Ultimately, the film was pretty good. It showcased a great visual style and was well acted. McGowan did a fine job framing her shots and employed some stellar cinematography. She also captured the nostalgic magic of the 1960s and made a picture that truly felt innocent and sweet, initially.

The problem with the film, is that it starts with a quick peek at the concluding scene. I feel like this undermined the impact it could have had, if the film actually built up as sweet and endearing and then threw a dark curveball. Also, the ending was underwhelming and predictable due to the nature of the opening scene. The last line of dialogue also completely ruined the experience for me, as it just seemed incredibly derivative and too juvenile for a short film that actually seemed to be building towards something exceptional.

Tara Lynne Barr was perfection as the lead in this tale. The only other thing that I’ve seen her in is Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America, which she was also fantastic in. Ultimately, I’d like to see her do so much more.

I don’t want to knock McGowan’s work. She showed that she definitely has something in regards to being behind the camera. There was some filmmaking magic here despite the final moments of the story kind of derailing things for me. But short films are often times experiments and practice before moving on to bigger things. I think Rose McGowan is off to a fairly good start and I am interested in seeing what else she will do in the future.

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