Written by Rachel Flynn
Directed & Edited by Ryan Alexander Dewar
How far would you go for love? Not just any run of the mill kind of crush, but a genuine connection with someone. Would you wait? Would you be their shoulder to cry on? Or would you allow this ‘love’ to taint, decay and rot into an obsession. It’s more common than you would suspect, and easily ‘written off’ or hidden – as even the ‘nicest’ guys can be the fiercest wolves in sheep’s clothing.
A couple of best pals having a night out. One of whom is in the pangs of a break-up, her life in need of a few comfortable nights, some self-care and one hell of a hangover. The other seeks to help – or so he claims. Rachel Flynn’s Permanent Scar seeks not to place women in the role of victim, lord knows we have enough of that form of media, but instead subvert the expectations and quivering underbelly of rejection, masculine ego and the lifelong effects it leaves.
Perhaps most concerning, and a testament to Cameron Fulton’s performance, is the credibility of the character, we know this boy, most of us have spent a night in the pub with this chap. Cheeky, charismatic, and garbed as genuine – a distressingly familiar person. A knot sits in your stomach as you reflect, realising that, to begin with, you found Fulton funny, you enjoyed the character, even though something felt off. Direction on the part of Ryan Alexander Dewar, who has already turned a trick with editing, is entirely on point, tight and refraining from grand gestures of unrequired emotion. There’s an unnerving correlation between the distinct lack of overwrought emotion, which could easily have tipped the balance, underpinning Fulton’s controlled performance.
We’ve come to expect awkward greenscreens, bathroom walls and less than stellar framework during lockdown, with various production relying on storytelling over aesthetic, but good lord – hats off to Interabang and Dewar. Those who have followed the company behind-the-scenes will understand how the team re-created the sweaty, neon-dazzled floors of a night club, hopefully without the sticky floors. Their method? Incredibly simple, the effect? Astonishingly convincing.
A distinctive piece of commentary on the part of Flynn – the authenticity of the narrative is repulsive in its accuracy. Living with terms such as ‘friend zone’, empty manifested words to preserve egos, is a tiring experience for women. The assaults, threats and gas-lights of supposed friends, family and companions are not only tiring but dangerous. More than this, there’s a poetic bounce to Flynn’s writing. As slippery as Fulton’s performance, it reinforces him by a deceptive structure where the writing is so charged with imagery and emotion, that it too surprises the audience when it shifts.
Flynn’s language is ultimately accessible, but occasionally, due to the film’s length, Flynn’s use of language has short-cuts for the exposition – which is entirely understandable. The fluid movement drops, only briefly, before thundering into a darker abyss, of brutal – needed – honesty surrounding ‘white knights’ with tarnished armour and selfish goals.
Starting their SceneToSeen season smashing expectations, Interabang productions champion a method of storytelling many are growing more accustomed with. While the short film is nothing new, the wealth of theatrical talent pouring in to maintain their creativity and promote a sustainable online platform is a brief glimmer in the ensuing bleakness. Permanent Scar is a terrific leaping point, which promises others in the series which aim to be clear, concise and thoroughly engaging. Here’s to a successful five-week run.