Innocence – Short Film Review

Crime dramas can capture the world’s thoughts and eyes, all wanting to try and work out the truth before it is revealed to us. Innocence, a film challenging stereotypes and representation on screen, follows a detective questioning a young man with Down Syndrome after a worker at a care home falls to his death. It really caught my attention, exciting and angering me, until we discovered the truth.

We kick off with drama and suspicion, us assuming we know the outcome, but then still feeling unsure. I thought the acting really was great. With a strong story like this, we expect strong, well written and played characters, and that was done. Alice Lowe plays Elizabeth Noble, a detective trying to understand and workout the truth to the case. If I was a detective, I think I would like to be like her. She was calm, level-headed, and someone who respected Dylan, only wanting the truth. Tommy Jessop, who plays Dylan, really refreshed my screen. After reading the director’s thoughts on his film, we learn how his brother has Down Syndrome, and after watching films together, they don’t see anyone like his brother on screen. It’s such a shame that stories need to be told and explored, that everyone deserves to see someone like them in the media, yet it still isn’t happening. I’ve seen Jessop in a few things, and every time he really does a fantastic job, including this short film. I’m so glad people are telling stories with all kinds of people, especially in a way that gives them the respect they deserve. Just because someone may be born differently, doesn’t mean they are less-intelligent, less-capable, and denied a place in this world and on our screens.

Ben Reid, who directed and co-wrote Innocence, does a fantastic job in keeping this story fast-paced and always leaving us to question what the truth really is. Sometimes I feel that stories following the crime genre are all quite similar, and I do think that this film leans towards that in its colour and style. That isn’t a bad thing. I like the tone it has, feeling quite cold and that it could be pictured in the real world. The music suggests suspense, really forcing us into Dylan’s world and wanting everyone to receive the justice they deserve, even if that means the bad guy is blamed. But I do think it is set apart from the typical crime film too, seeing someone new as our hero, or even villain. I love a good twist, and this film really hits you with the unexpected. With the cinematography, I feel close and knowing to the action, but also far away, kind of like a fly on the wall. 

It’s awful to think themes in this story are true to life, and that people are vulnerable to those with power, but I’m so glad that someone with Down Syndrome wasn’t just a victim. I hope Reid’s brother Tom takes away from this that he can be the hero of the story. He can also be the villain if he wants, but it could end in lies and jail time. Ha!

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