Sudden Death


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Sudden Death
"Nature not so much red in tooth and claw as death-masqued of the same shade."

Amongst the many circularities of Sudden Death, a Scandi-inflected murder mystery of sorts, is a mantra. "I want a fried egg. Also a coffee. And a sausage."

These needs go unmet. Not so, for audiences, other questions. The target of this death, the source. The nature of the managed landscape, the identity of the voice on the other side of the walkie talkie. Even details of our lone figure, the Inspector.

Writer/director/protagonist, Rhona Muhlebach repeats a trifecta from 2019 short The Lousiest Spy Ever. Here the inspector inspects a forest that is also a crime scene, Galloway Forest Park mapped out in an angular orange that recalls computer displays of the early Eighties and advertorial content of the later 21st Century. Among them too a shape, at first uncertain, an amulet perhaps, worked silver, but revealed as something faceless, sightless, remorseless.

Nature not so much red in tooth and claw as death-masqued of the same shade. Gravel is piled like barrows. Trees lie perpendicular to their nature. That sudden death evades detection until it is named. Not at first correctly, however - like the Terminator it hides in another's guise.

All this in service of a comic short with, as the Scottish Competition jury at Glasgow's 2021 Short Film Festival put it, "tongue firmly planted in its cheek." From over-lapping over-dubbed red kites to that litany of breakfast lament, it casts joy with its shadows.

Reviewed on: 02 Apr 2021
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Set in a nature management zone, an investigation of the outdated romantic notions of wilderness and nature.

Director: Rhona Mühlebach

Writer: Rhona Mühlebach

Year: 2020

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: UK


GSFF 2021

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