What Comes From Outside Review
By Ashley Maniw (August 20th, 2018)
Directed by: Kai Gero Lenke
Written by: Kai Gero Lenke
Produced by: Kai Gero Lenke
Key Cast: Marvin W. Jones, Nils Andre Brünnig
What Comes From Outside is a tense short film that explores ideas around growing up and letting go. From its intense visual style, natural and engaging acting from the two leads and the dynamic sound quality, this short film written and directed by Kai Gero Lenke is definitely worth a watch.
The film tells the story of two brothers as they deal with an accident in two very different ways. Ben, the younger of the two, is woken up by his brother Alex as he rummages through the kitchen in the middle of the night. Ben follows his brother outside and realizes why Alex was so harried – he took their father’s car out and accidentally hit a rabbit. Unfortunately, the poor creature is still alive and since there are no vet office’s open, the brothers decide to do the compassionate thing and put the rabbit out of its misery. Only, it’s much harder to kill a living animal than it would appear.
The film is really beautifully shot, creating an intimidating and creepy atmosphere. It has a sense of dread and foreboding that carries the action from the very start of the film with Ben getting scared after hearing someone in the house when he’s alone in the middle of the night.
Lenke crafts a world that feels as real and terrifying as a nightmare. The majority of the short takes place during a rainstorm, reflecting the dark mood of the story. There’s little dialogue and the film is told mostly through action and images, absorbing you in the piece so that you’re invested in the story and characters. The film is really nicely shot and while dark, it’s still easy to follow the action and see the characters’ faces while they fret over the injured rabbit. Additionally, the short has an exceptional use of sound – both the score and the sound effects create an intense, insular world that allows you to get into the heads of the characters.
Like all good films, this short deals with underlying themes that reflect the action and tell a deeper story about the psyches of these characters. The film inadvertently also deals with ideas related to growing up - of losing a connection to the natural world as you mature out of childhood and into adulthood; how growing up often requires us severing ourselves from our softer, younger parts. How Alex came across the rabbit remains mysterious, which makes it a symbol as well for a rift that eventually grows between the brothers – an outside force that makes them choose two different paths. It’s interesting that both brothers have the same first instinct – to kill the rabbit instead of trying to nurse it until they can take it to a veterinarian in the morning.
With its dark visual style, interesting story and strong acting, What Comes From Outside is a compelling short film. The dream-like and fairy tale quality only enhances the story and makes it stick in your mind long after you’ve watched it.
- Ashley Maniw