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A Short Mission: The Pavement

A sign of skilled writing and innovation in film-making is competently mastering the narrative. In shorts and features, there are only a few that can edit and toy with the story’s time, pacing it well to still engross the audience in such an alluring and exciting way. On the top of my head, films such as Memento and Pulp Fiction, by Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino respectively, do this because the plot and film practically beg for sublimely done narrative work, with the former feeling much more akin to this following short as the crux of the idea revolving around a flare for paced time and non-linear plot. Taylor Engel, a self-taught filmmaker, has quickly leveled himself up the ranks of and nestled on a high perch with his fantastic short The Pavement.

Selected as part of a HBO competition, The Pavement revolves around a man who is shot and sent out of the window to his death. Narrating the moments that led up this tragedy, Engel unravels different elements of the story unfold in an amazing way as we find out exactly who killed our “hero.”

Pulsating with this noir narrator, The Pavement is a smooth beating story that is told like slam poetry. Engel uses repetition and skill to sublimely capture the essence of black and white crime dramas all the while balancing the facts and moments in this delectable story that pushes the boundaries of linear plot. Pulling away from the finale to reveal moments, told in the drawl of a man regaling his brutal death, is a masterful technique that is never squandered on a whim. Instead, Engel uses it to full effect – enhance the drama and captivating the audience superbly.

The editing is slick with the film drenched in grey tones that hammer the visceral context home. The filmmakers focus on key elements of the film to entrance you to the script; a lingering smoking gun, the scream of a woman and the cold titular pavement. What this is is an excellent example in how to use the full stop properly and allowing it to pause delicately on key moment.

Engel has remarkably pulled out a stunning film and slammed it in under five minutes. It has this thudding energy and unravels beguiling  in order to entice. It is a thrilling film that captivates the importance of short film ingenuity.

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