This is near 14 minutes which comes with some pedigree. The beautiful cinematography was done by Giorgios Valsamis, the man behind the stunning visuals of the Palme D’Or winning short film The Distance Between Us and the Sky. Plus The Last Ferry From Grass Island is not just making the festival rounds at any Tom, Dick or Harry festival, but biggies like Palm Springs International Shortfest (which makes it eligible to qualify for an Oscar nomination), it had its world premier at Tribeca and is being screened at a little one on the coast of France known as the Cannes Film Festival.
Despite all the hype or adjusted expectations as a result, it does not disappoint. This is a beautifully shot film which works well on many different levels. The story, sparse dialogue, intent behind it, direction, and acting all pull in the same direction.
Short films are tricky. Being short does not mean people expect less. Actually they want the same bang for their buck they would from feature length. You just have a shorter amount of time to accomplish that.
A native of Hong Kong and a former hitman for the Triad, has decided to retire from that life and move to a remote island called Grass Island where he will fish. But the move was done primarily in order to take care of his elderly mother who is suffering from dementia. However, because of his former occupation, this is not going to be the case of living a quiet life.
His former employers have send his female successor on the ferry to the island. She is tasked with killing the master. This must be done before the last ferry back to the mainland.
Though the pacing here is slow, there certainly is a feeling that you are still heading somewhere. Zhang, a graduate of NYB’s Tisch School of Arts, does not allow himself to feel the pressure of only having a short time.
It ends…but leaves you wanting more. Upon reflection you will agree the film is made better by the fact that everything is not spelled out.