Minus 1 Review
By Vanessa Nim (April 23rd, 2018)
Directed by: Renato Bratkovič
Written by: Renato Bratkovič
Produced by: Jurij Moličnik
Key Cast: Igor Korošec, Jana Jeglič
As the film industry becomes more and more saturated, it becomes harder and harder for filmmakers to stand out with original pieces. However, in the endeavor of extraordinary art, many filmmakers have overlooked a critical aspect: simplicity. Filmed against the grain of flashy blockbusters, Renato Bratkovič’s short film Minus 1 comes to us with a simple story about a man who is there to help - although, not in the way you might expect.
Minus 1 introduces us to Joe (Igor Korošec), a crisis call center worker, and follows his night as he assists a woman (Jana Jeglič) who calls the centre in distress. Written and directed by Bratkovič, the film puts a dark twist on the common rhetoric that there is ‘always someone out there who can help’ by offering a different perspective on what ‘helping someone’ means.
Filmed in one single night with only one single take, Bratkovič’s film is simple but chilling. Featuring stellar performances by both Korošec and Jeglič, as well as subtle but effective cinematography, Minus 1 keeps us on edge not by keeping us guessing, but by keeping us hoping.
While Bratkovič’s story and script is fantastic on it’s own, his story is brought to heart through by Korošec and Jeglič’s performances. Korošec’s natural portrayal of the cynical and witty Joe easily captivates us as he talks with the woman to help her, motivate her. Playing on the the naivete of human morality and our expectations of decency, Korošec’s performance strings us along as we hope against what we already know Joe is trying to do.
On the other side of the phone, Jeglič voices the despondent drawl of Joe’s caller. Although she is not given any real screen time, Jeglič still manages to create a full and encompassing character, reflecting through diction and tone what she cannot through body language and facial expression. Jeglič’s voice, bleak and nearly empty, is impactful enough to inflict worry, desperation and panic in us for a woman we don’t even meet face to face.
In addition to Korošec and Jeglič’s performances, Minus 1’s simple cinematography, directed by Marko Šalamun, compliments the film’s chilling narrative well. Using a cold, white fluorescent light against the familiarity and comfort of what appears as a home office, the Šalamun’s cinematography visually reflects Joe’s conflicting, questioning aura of Joe. While his words, his occupation and his office lead us to trust him, the lighting, his tone and ultimately his actions make us know he’s not to be trusted. However, despite what we may know, the contradictions keep us questioning ourselves and hoping against what we already know.
Between Bratkovič’s story, Korošec and Jeglič’s performances and Šalamun’s cinematography, Minus 1 stands out as a chilling and heart stopping short thriller. Using our own expectations of morality and beliefs in the good of humanity against us, Bratkovič’s film keeps us on the edge of our seats saying, “No, he can’t be.” Simultaneously predictable and unpredictable, Minus 1 terrifies us with our own hope for goodness.
- Vanessa Nim