It’s amazing how much information can be transmitted in film without having to explicitly state anything. Beginning in medias res, the short film Gear never stops for exposition and yet viewers will not feel lost in its futuristic plot. Written and directed by Kevin Adams and Joe Ksander, the short finds a young pickpocket (Charlotte Alexis White) scraping together cash from unsuspecting marks until she meets up with some authority figures. It’s a simple tale, but one that feels weightier than the synopsis suggests. While it’s never laid out exactly what’s going on, who the antagonists are, or what’s the deal with the robot, it feels less like something is missing and more like this is a snippet from a larger world where the filmmakers know all the answers and the emotional weight involved.
Short films are having an interesting time this past few years: they can be places for fanfic or using established properties to tell a story; or they can be wholly original calling cards for filmmakers looking to make their mark on the world. Some lead to greater things, like District 9 or Pixels (“greater” being a relative term in Pixels’ case), while others simply exist to entertain. The proliferation of short films is astounding, and viewers never know if the short they are watching is a launching pad for a bigger story, a whole career, or simply a new flight of imagination.