The short-film ”Red Balloon” by Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbrot is a thirteen minute long thriller released in May in 2010. The short-film is a capturing and technically advanced film for its time of publication. It uses advanced computer-generated sequences and has a storyline, which captures the audience in one-way or another. But even though it has a good storyline, it’s hard to follow clearly what the film wants to convey, because in a well thought out script, too much focus on the details of the story and the technical aspect of the film may have hurt Red Balloon more than it gave to it.
The film is about the babysitter Julie who is taking care of Dorothy Radford, but when Dorothy wont goes to sleep, Julie finds out the “Essex Monster”, Alistair Radford, is on the loose after he escaped a mental hospital and has ended up in Dorothy’s room. The main character is the babysitter Julie and throughout the film we follow her mission of putting Dorothy to sleep and then saving her from being put to sleep. During the film though, we can see the storyline being told and brought to a clear climax as we get introduced to Julie and Dorothy, as well as following the news-segment on the TV where the news about Alistair is introduced while Julie is asleep. The climax, when Julie is back inside the house to save Dorothy, is followed by a very brief ending. Where we can see, from Julie’s point of view, the same person who brutally attacked Julie is calmly taking that Dorothy away.
The film has an outstanding technical team and a clear storyline, which uses the technical aspects as a tool to help telling the story. It works well in some places, like the first news segment where we see Alistair’s name on the TV-screen and when we first get to see the house in the introduction. But in other places, it fails to communicate the story and rather focuses on showing off the talents of the crew than the most important part of a film, conveying the story. For instance the bloody, screaming demon-face Dorothy has in Julie’s dream and the smooth computer-generated transitions between one location to the other, is completely unnecessary for the story. It’s just there for the sake of being there. It also takes away from the story by portraying Dorothy as the child the audience should look out for, when in reality Alistair is the guy who just escaped a mental hospital. This whole scene could be a really clever scene to make us think Dorothy will be the one to kill Julie, who would be an amazing plot-twist, but when we have already introduced Alistair Radford to the story, there is just no use in trying to make Dorothy the antagonist. Another scene that takes away from the story is the really messy and way too long segment between Julie trying to bring Dorothy with her and Dorothy introducing Alistair as the bunny. It’s just a stack of clips thrown into each other to look cool. With the problem being that it was cool the first 5-7 seconds, but after 17 long seconds of flying through windows, strobe light effect and a lot of non-descriptive talking from many people. Took a toll for the worse and more exhausting, which made it look like a fashionable hell’s kitchen outro. Some of the technical aspects and effects worked great, but others fell to the dust, making the storyline harder to swallow, but still palatable.
Red Balloon is a great movie and deserves all the awards and nominations it got, but could’ve earned from a simpler mindset with more focus on making the storyline better, without all the computer-generated “help” it got. You should watch it if you like thrillers, jumpscares and a puzzling story. But if it’s not free, don’t buy it.