The Beach House is a short film written and directed by the Devonian duo Richard Standen and Tom Stanley. The majority of the short was filmed on location, at Putsborough Beach, in North Devon, and the cinematography certainly reflects the beauty of Devon’s coastline.
The film concerns the titular ‘beach house’, which has been bequeathed to three children. The now deceased parents were deaf and so too were two of their offspring, Emmet and Enola, but their eldest son, River, was born hearing and so struggled in his parents household, often feeling like an outsider. This led River to leave his family, but after six years away and the sudden death of his parents, River returns to pick up the pieces, and to explain to Emmet why he left and to meet his little sister, Enola.
As with most debut productions, personally, I found the sound levels to be slightly off, particularly in the short’s opening sequence.
The performances from both Alex Nowak (Emmet) and Chloe Montague (Enola) are really quite good, but the majority of Mckinley Blake’s lines feel rather clumsy, but perhaps that’s more pronounced what with him being the only speaking character? Now, these are only minor issues and ultimately they do not detract from the overall enjoyment of the short.
As the film developed, I sensed a strong similarity to the films of Alexander Payne or even Wes Anderson, there’s a real sense of a dysfunctional family, coming together to unite, which is a common theme in both of the above director’s work. Again, this is reflected in the script and so when River turns up late, to the reading of his Mother and Father’s will, and asks, “what did I miss”, you know the characters are thinking, ‘the last six years of our lives’. Such subtlety is a rare thing, not just in shorts, but in cinema in general.
The Beach House is an intriguing and insightful film and hopefully we’ll be seeing more from this local duo.