Little Man-Tom Lodewyck
A modern take on the Brothers Grimm, “Rose White”, a short film that clocks in just over 30 minutes, defies categorization. Part thriller, part drama, part fantasy, the film centers around sisters Rosalyn (Breen) and Lilly (Melody), one a gritty realist, doing what she has to, to survive and the other, a timid girl that escapes her harsh reality by escaping into the fantasy world in her mind. Told from the perspective of Lilly, the film is narrated “fairy tale” style in voice over.
A “pet project” of Deneen Melody’s, “Rose White” buzz started last year, with stills, teaser trailers, and fund raising drives popping up on social media, and, being a fan of Melody’s stellar work (most recently in the “Lewis” segment of the outstanding anthology film “Psycho Street”), I was naturally eager to review this short. Melody again delivers acting chops in spades—deftly toggling between fantasy and reality, she brings a stunning depth to the character of Lilly in the (short) allotted time, and by the time the film reaches it’s shocking, violent conclusion, the viewer has a vested emotional interest. Additionally, Erin Breen turns in a gritty, convincing, and almost grim portrayal of Rosalyn, an obviously damaged woman, charged with taking care of her family using the only resources she has available. This was my first time reviewing Breen’s work, and I was very impressed with the overall skill she brings to this project.
Technically, the film looks amazing. The surreal fantasy sequences have the clarity, composition and sheen of a major studio picture, due in no small part to the cinematography of Jeremy Kuhlman. Serving in the dual roles of actor and director, Dan Kuhlman serves up a deliberately paced, well crafted film with a very linear narrative. While I sometimes wondered where the film was heading, all the loose ends eventually get tidily wrapped up by the conclusion and there are virtually no unanswered questions left. I look forward to seeing more of Kuhlman’s work.
Genre bending, and difficult to pigeonhole, “Rose White” succeeds because of the, obviously, talented and passionate people involved. As a “dark fairy tale”, “Rose White” is a very entertaining, well crafted short film and earns an enthusiastic 8 out of 10.