The Announcement: Review

The Announcement: Review

A married couple and their adult son reveal surprising truths about themselves during the course of an evening dinner in a smart restaurant. 

Based around a basic and familiar concept, as the title suggests, one may feel a slight apprehension as to just how imaginatively constructed and engaging it could be. Such rudimentary concerns can often make or break a short film with limited time in which to make an impact. 

The interest of the scenario lies in the juxtaposition of the emphasis of the revelations themselves and the somewhat incongruous situation in which they take place. The trivial versus the high-flown. It is a comic device which works well. Not only does it set the tone, it also allows one to settle into the drama as it plays out, to derive the humour on one’s own terms instead of having the gags signposted. 

Out of the three family members the wife (Felicity Montagu) is the most convincing. She shows an extra level of depth to her character which the others lack, although that is not to do disservice to the son (Hugo Chegwin) and husband (David Schaal) who both give solid performances. 

In this way director James Kibbey wisely plays the comedy straight and the humour deadpan. It keeps the tone fairly neutral, neither too light nor too heavy, making it possible to judge the balance between absurdity and severity on equal terms. 

Due to its short running time, the film essentially plays out as a short sketch, or vignette. No backstory is necessary, and the few references to the past, weaved into the dialogue, are never distracting. 

Being largely a script based piece, well written and comfortably naturalistic, it could be easy to overcompensate by trying to communicate too much visually, a consideration Kibbey clearly understands. Instead he uses simple, functional shots and unobtrusive camerawork, so as not to draw attention away from the narrative. It is an enjoyable and entertaining watch. Amusing, witty, it keeps you wanting to know what each new confession, and subsequent reaction, will be. 

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Thomas is a musician, writer and film enthusiast with a broad taste in films, from Big Night to The Big Combo. When he isn’t immersed in these activities his passions extend to the kitchen and food.


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