Since I have to try and dodge the short film review spoiler trap, there’s not much I can reveal about Run except that it’s about a backpacker who writes to his mother about his adventures on the road. It was single-handedly written, shot and edited by UK filmmaker Mat Johns for the 2012 edition of the Halloween KinoKabaret event in which he’s been taking part since 2006, filmed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the help of a shoulder rig, and done on a zero budget in under four days.
I’ll skip the beating around the bush business and say that I am impressed. Flat-out impressed. I’m floored that a compact 6:45 minute watch managed to have such a profound emotional impact on me. The visceral handheld cinematography, the gentle but distinctly eerie voiceover and the main actor’s performance build an incredible atmosphere that takes a painful turn halfway through. The only thing I am conflicted about is the soundtrack — I’m generally not a big fan of background music because I find it emotionally manipulative and imposing in a bad way, as though it’s trying to dictate how the viewer should feel — but ultimately, the melancholic piano piece only adds to the twisted beauty of this short.
There’s no use in writing more as Run speaks for itself. Even British national treasure Stephen Fry loved it so much that he sent it out to his over 5 million Twitter followers. Mat Johns has created a short film which is heart-destroying in its magnificence, and I strongly encourage you to watch it.