This is huge; so, so huge. Director Drew Bierut’s Things They Say is a sideways look at a modern day phenomenon that has been part of the public consciousness ever since the election of Donald Trump – FAKE NEWS.
You’ve never seen anything like this before, folks. Nothing like it. A film about a gossip website under threat from the lying fake news media, THE REAL FAKE NEWS MEDIA, as well as an alt-right conspiracy group and a restaurant who changes its menu because of a rumour about olive oil causing impotency.
The script of this short film – and we love films that are short – written by Brando Topp, works efficiently and confidently to introduce all its different plot elements and resolve them all in way that ties them all together well.
In it’s FIFTEEN MINUTES running time (fifteen minutes, that’s not so short) it’s able to cover a lot. It has a broad reach with some of its material, but it’s focused and in its storytelling. The script is well-constructed, every element gets the right amount of screen time, nothing feels like dead weight.
Where other films of its type – social satires – can feel stagy and lack an integrity and attention to detail to make the film feel real, Things They Say had a tone and sensibility where it comes off as authentic as it’s possible to be. On these counts, Things They Say wins and wins bigly.
It’s not so funny, though, not as funny in the quirky Greta Gerwig-style it is clearly aiming for. It also doesn’t go as far with its targets as much as it could do, or do anything that you wouldn’t have seen coming. All that does take away from the film, that there’s nothing that really sticks in the memory about it.
What’s more, given the opportunities it has to pick its subject matter apart, it doesn’t really do anything with it. SAD.
Things They Say is a mixed bag: there are some good things in there and it’s technically very sound, but in not tackling its subject matter too deeply it ends up feeling throwaway and forgettable.