Exodus tells a story about human beings at their rawest and most vulnerable
Exodus, like the best sci-fi films, doesn’t just tell the story of an imaginary apocalyptic future in which the world’s environment has been degraded beyond repair. It tells a story about human beings at their rawest and most vulnerable: a demonstration of how one would act in such a situation that eerily no longer seems very alien nor fictitious. Or even, as director, writer and producer Kiran Dhoot puts it, a portrayal of “how we are capable of acting when no one is watching and no one can hold you accountable”.
The short film marks a first step into the world of filmmaking for Dhoot, and it is no doubt a commendable one. With its slick production and precise, effective shots, tension is built up and maintained throughout, from the start to the bitter end.
The film’s three characters embody contrasting reactions to crisis: the leader, the survivalist and the broken. We witness how the three personas interact and develop throughout the film, as critical moral dilemmas arise. At times, unnecessarily detailed dialogue between the characters threatens the film’s mature quality, where silent shots could perhaps have said a lot more.
Other aspects of the film, however, triumph in their subtlety, for example its creative use of lighting. It was not surprising to discover that Exodus was originally filmed to be a piece of theatre, seen in its use of effective dramatic lighting, especially during pivotal scenes. It is a shining example of the film’s professional production, and Dhoot’s success at ‘informing the scene’ in sophisticated ways.
All in all, Exodus succeeds at what it sets out to do: presenting and involving its audience in a series of precarious situations and moral quandaries, forcing us to question what we would ultimately do. Whilst it could be more refined, the film stands as an impressive debut, reflected in its very early award win with CKF International Film Festival. As for the future, besides further predicted award successes, there is plenty in store for Exodus, including plans to make a feature length version. This, combined with the producers’ passion and dedication, makes the film well worth keeping an eye out for.