The Shift

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Shift
"Russell-Martin - whose background is on stage, featuring in productions with Glasgow's Citizens Theatre among others - makes an impact in her film debut."

The precariousness of life when you're relying on the gig economy is brought home by Laura Carreira's latest short. The Portuguese director is based in Edinburgh and this nine-minute drama is set in Scotland as Anna (Anna Russell-Martin) takes her dog for a walk to the local supermarket and then browses the shelves, looking for the cheapest stuff she can.

To say too much about how events unfold would be to do a disservice to the writer/director but her low-key approach to the situation brings home the way that even small things can push people over the edge, if they're already standing close to it. She has a keen eye for observation, including the way that people - in a pre-Covid world, at least - interact with each other in these shopping spaces, particularly around the discount section.

Russell-Martin - whose background is on stage, featuring in productions with Glasgow's Citizens Theatre among others - makes an impact in her film debut. Anna is, aside from her dog (Pan, who seems a very good boy indeed), on her own, so the actress needs to convey a range of emotions with minimal dialogue, the manner in which she handles different items in the store speaking volumes about her mental state. The way she gradually lets a rising tide of anxiety well up in Anna is also perfectly executed.

Low key it may be but Carreira's message still packs a punch and will resonate with anyone who has ever been uncertain as to where their next pay packet is coming from.

Reviewed on: 10 Sep 2020
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The Shift packshot
An agency worker gets bad news while she's shopping.

Director: Laura Carreira

Writer: Laura Carreira

Starring: Anna Russell-Martin

Year: 2020

Runtime: 9 minutes

Country: UK

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