The Good Deed is Eugene E-Nrg’s fourth film whose first film, Bastard, was released in 2007, and was followed by The Otherside in 2010. Shot in Australia, the fifteen-minute short is directed, written, and produced with a budget of $28,000, and features two main characters.
The Good Deed is an experimental short that pronounces the filmmaker’s best endeavors to utilize every tool offered by his medium in order to focus on the details of every scene. From the opening sequence, for instance, E-Nrg tries to depict the mindsets of the characters by presenting separate images of the police officers, manacled Tyrone, and Uncle Lucky himself. Dutch angle shots, extreme close-ups, the abstract scene where a hand knocks on the door in the dark, dolly camera movements where the camera moves away from Tyrone and the officers, or towards them to create POV shots, along with the simultaneous portrayal of the relationship between the officers and Tyrone, who apparently seems to dislikes them, are all creative scenes and various ideas that proclaim the filmmaker’s deep and comprehensive understanding of his medium and all its capabilities. E-Nrg knows very well how to implement a whole range of cinematic principals and techniques in order to successfully create tone and setting, two pivotal elements of short films whose creation needs a high level of expertise. Through these camera movements and guiding the actors towards giving deliberately exaggerated and at times realistic performances, E-Nrg has created an exceptional atmosphere between experimental and realistic.
Uncle Lucky is cast as an unpredictable character. He is adeptly depicted in the first flashback sequence as carefree and indifferent, at times impatient and at times energetic; a protester representing a protest movement, and a fighter at the same time. The film makes use of a variety of techniques such as intertitling the dialogues between its two main characters (to translate their conversation) in order to create a thorough experimental effect in every respect including changing the genre and mood, the methods used to help actors perform, and depicting the nature of human relations which move on the narrow border of seriousness and comedy.
As soon as Tyrone enters Uncle Lucky’s yard, a new atmosphere pervades. Now it is Tyrone who must experience this universe, exploring and discovering the details of the pictures on the wall, a discovery that introduces him to his family background. The moment he wears the boxing gloves he becomes part of the family background and connects to it. Here, too, the filmmaker has employed fascinating techniques to give meaning to Tyrone’s experiences (for example the abstract image of the back lighted boxing bag with smoke rising up from behind it in a blue background). Tyrone’s battle begins from this very moment and the filmmaker announces this beginning to the viewers. However, for as proud a boy as Tyrone, this is not going to be an easy battle, and he leaves Uncle Lucky’s yard. E-Nrg competently manages to reveal the inner universe of the characters by creating the right ambience via parallel cuts (to show an execution image one of the characters has in mind), appropriate decoupage, fast editing, and working simultaneously on the SOT.
Because of this perfect ambience, the viewer comes to believe Tyrone’s return to Uncle Lucky’s yard. His return is the result of feeling what the viewer has also witnessed through the film: battling for improvement, connecting with the past, and hope. Tyrone and Uncle Lucky’s final battle scene is the impressive climax of their simple human relationship, a climax that is presented just as it is, emotional, exciting, and full of hope, without exaggeration.
The Good Deed comes to a brilliant close when the camera moves backward and away from the final battle scene. It is creative, methodical, articulate, and has a distinct style within the framework of the short story it narrates.
E-Nrg’s film proves that even a simple narration can be riveting and intriguing by focusing on details and human relations, and creating the right atmosphere.