Crime films are usually a hard exam for their filmmakers. Since this genre has had a long and fruitful past and the audience are drawing to them more and more, making a film that can follow the rules of the genre and then subvert these characteristic features and become a unique experience in itself is a difficult task, something which requires not only the script but the rhythm, atmosphere and tone of the film to be perfect. It is often the tone of the film that makes the relationship between the characters (especially criminals) in the film look real. It’s the atmosphere of the film that enables us to understand the world of criminals and victims, and it’s the rhythm that takes us through a journey of the events of the film. One must add the dynamic power between the actors to it, which is essential to creating a fictional world resembling ours. The loneliness of the protagonist of crime films can only be created (and understood) through contradictions with their environment and the other characters. The relationship between the characters is what gives life to what is seen on the screen. Three Days Gone: Based on the Life of Lucas Snow (directed by Scott McCullough) seems to have been successful at all the above mentioned features.
Right from the beginning, we are pulled inside this dark, cruel world. A world where unfortunate things happen about which we do not know anything, and this ambiguity is what draws us to understand the characters and their motives better. But information is given to the audience drop by drop (just as the protagonist, Lucas, gradually understands the situation because of amnesia) and it makes the viewers want for more. The film has a great beginning. Lucas (Christopher Backus) and Doug (Patrick J. Adams) at are stuck in a terrible situation, with Doug holding a gun to his best friend’s face. But no information is given as the reason why they are in conflict with one another, and gradually, through a brilliant fast-cut editing accompanied by a great song, the film shows (or better to say implies) that Doug is murdered.
After the credits and the fast-paced editing, we are finally introduced to the main characters properly, and we understand Lucas’ predicament: Certain mob bosses believe that Lucas has had a hand in stealing $500,000 and they’re after him, and although he doesn’t remember much and only has a partial photograph to help him identify those involved in what has happened, but he has to try to clear his name before it’s too late (and we have already seen that it becomes too late). We understand all of this through the conversation between Lucas and Doug at the tire shop. It’s extraordinary to see how the director uses such a closed space to hint at the characters being confined to a situation from which there is no escape.
Christopher Backus and Patrick J. Adams are great actors who play their characters with such a force that we believe everything they do or say, and there is a dynamic power between them (and, by extension, between the other characters) that bring the audience to the heart of the story. This can be seen as the perfect example of working with actors in a short film. Patrick J. Adams is probably a familiar face now as he starred in the critically acclaimed television show ‘Suits’, and he is just as good here.
As a film filled with visual creativity, cinematography in Three Days Gone is one of its strong points. The frames seem to be carefully selected in a way that not only they’re aesthetically pleasing, but also contribute to the story as they show us what we need to see. This is highlighted more in the scenes shot within closed locations where the camera movements prevent the scenes from becoming boring. Similarly, it is the editing done on each frame and shot and makes them stand out.
Three Days Gone is a film that follows certain genre features but, at the same time, defies them and sets in its own path. Through a story of an amnesiac character who has to clear his name, the film carries the viewers through a rollercoaster ride of suspense and action, and becomes a beautifully compressed action film that shows how crime films can be shot and made in a short format. Scott McCullough has shown that he’s an exceptional filmmaker. He can make a film that drags the audience into a new world, a bleak world filled with tired, beaten-down characters who are stuck in a meaningless circle, and he narrates a thrilling story that keeps you on your feet. McCullough is a filmmaker with a future to look forward to, as he has shown what he can do in this limited format and hints that he will be even more successful with his upcoming feature film (titled ‘The Mission).