‘The 2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films’ Review: Small Running Times, Large Themes

Many of this year’s films take a darker turn, but there is some levity among the bunch.

The Oscar-nominated short films are being presented in three programs: live action, animation and documentary. Each program is reviewed below by a separate critic.

Whatever your takeaways from the live action section of this year’s Oscar-nominated short films, a good laugh is unlikely to be among them. Suicide, abortion, bereavement, discoloring corpses — they’re all here, in a deluge of downers that only the Danes (and, depending on your tolerance for extreme preciousness, Wes Anderson) can be trusted to alleviate.

Those Danes, though! In Lasse Lyskjer Noer’s magnificently morbid comedy, “Knight of Fortune,” two grieving widowers bond over toilet paper and the trauma of viewing a loved one whose flesh — as warned by a pair of ghoulish mortuary attendants — might be the color of a banana. Although, bathed in the sickly spill of the morgue’s fluorescents, no one’s complexion here is exactly glowing.

If “Knight of Fortune” is a gentle nudge to the ribs, Misan Harriman’s “The After” is a two-by-four to the gut — and not in a good way. Trafficking in the kind of forced sentiment that can break you out in hives, this handsomely shot movie, featuring a garment-rending David Oyelowo, follows a London ride-share driver in the wake of a shocking personal tragedy. A trite, bullying soundtrack herds us toward the histrionic climax of a film that doesn’t trust us to get there on our own.

More restrained, and infinitely more resonant, “Invincible” observes the final 48 hours in the life of a 14-year-old boy (Léokim Beaumier-Lépine) as he struggles to corral his emotions and earn release from a center for troubled youth. The acting is impressive and the direction (by Vincent René-Lortie, drawing from a painful real-life memory) is bold and intuitive. Subtly intimate photography by Alexandre Nour Desjardins does much to enhance a movie that understands when it comes to emotions, less is often more.

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Source: Movies -


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