The Gate opens quietly on Tryphena Russel. The first few minutes of the short, director Westrup just holds on her. She’s witnessed some strange happening and the police are interviewing her. Her performance, and the finely intercut flashback snippets, are the short’s hook.
Westrup then cuts to John Mawson, who’s one of those British scientists everyone wants to listen to and believe. The rest of the short is Mawson talking over the further outbreaks with a government committee. Westrup’s wide composition is precise. He very carefully constructs the briefing scenes. While there’s a lot more visually impressive stuff in the flashbacks, the meeting scenes are the best thing in the short. Westrup and his editor, Nikki Porter, do outstanding work.
The other scenes have some great visual effects–though Porter’s editing remains essential. But even they are more engaging because of their unexpected turns.
The Gate‘s a beautifully executed film.
Written and directed by Matt Westrup; directors of photography, Peter Ellmore and Jonas Mortensen; edited by Nikki Porter; produced by Spencer Friend.
Starring John Mawson (Dr. William Ackerman), Robert Rowe (Under Secretary Johnson) and Tryphena Russel (Female Witness).