A man and a woman wait out a rainstorm in a hotel lobby some place between “here and nowhere”. When the TV news reports the disappearance of a high-ranking Pentagon official, neither he nor she know of the ramifications it will have on their brief, seductive encounter. Written and directed by Nick Efteriades and starring Stelio Savante, Hannah Jane McMurray and Lou Mast.
One of the first things you will notice about Pronoia is the sharp visual quality, available in stunning 4K, it’s a pleasure to watch the crisp aesthetic unfold before you. The second aspect that will jump out at you is the mystery, without a seconds hesitation, you’re thrown into unknown territory and it’s terrifically engrossing. The surprising factor is that every moment you get deeper into the story, more is revealed, there may still be much unknown but it’s enjoyable to not fall into the trap of giving nothing to your audience until the very last second. The way the gradual reveal is portrayed by its leads, Savante and McMurray feels natural, casual and utterly convincing, their performances hit the perfect note; their body language, pace and back and forth, are pleasing to watch.
The film almost feels like a blend of Fortitude, Under the Skin and Up in the Air taking place at The Overlook Hotel, granted that sounds like a strange combination but it is satisfying to watch. The utterly strange yet fantastic quality of the film is that it’s less believable that a network would have a mature female news anchor (because it’s sadly that unlikely) than the sci-fi nature of the story, which is impressive and masterfully achieved by its cast.
It’s an unusual sequence of events to watch unfold and the latter stages almost feel like an ode to No Country for Old Men. At some points it does feel like the story is drifting into something much less easy to follow and its intentions are far from transparent, which in itself is mysterious but in a less pleasing way than earlier. The significance of the events that transpire do feel somewhat murky and it misses giving its final moments that big, satisfying punch.
Pronoia is an unusual, interesting and well-acted short film, that is let down slightly by its story progression, much like the earlier mentioned hit and miss series Fortitude but it will undoubtedly leave you thinking.
But don’t leave just yet, you can watch the film for free, right here!