Roofs show some promise with some nice elements, but don’t attract the audience with a lack of plot, making you feel like a bystander watching a group of friends hang out.
A tour musician returns home to spend a day with old friends and an old flame. Just as the times feel right again, she has to expect to go again.
This short film started out promising. I loved the opening. A montage of New York clips old and new with a very fitting score. Once the title card fades, we’re thrown right into a scene where an avid fan approaches Rachel, an aspiring singer who is returning from her tour to New York to see her friends. The fan, played by Timothy J. Cox, easily steals the scene with an optimistic and enthusiastic performance.
From here we are introduced to Rachel’s three friends who visit her in her small apartment. Unfortunately, we don’t learn much about these characters. The audience seems to take a back seat from this point on as the characters chat among themselves. You definitely feel like you are that strange man in the room waiting to be introduced. There was no real introduction to who these people were, how they all knew each other, or how long it had been since they had met. I felt like I had no connection with any of these people and it kicked you out of the movie.
From here, a quick tour of Brooklyn follows as you explore the sights. A relationship with Rachel and one of the friends, Margaret, appears to be developing. That was very subtle, I wasn’t sure if that was intended or not. It develops as the film progresses. This montage is complemented by some great camera work that shows us a side of New York that we don’t normally see. Alex Leombruno managed to do a great job which makes it visually interesting. I think because of that and the lack of investment in the characters, the development between Rachel and Margaret is a bit lost.
Finally, when evening falls, they have a little house party of drinking and dancing while the group of friends have fun. But again, due to the lack of investment in these characters and the storyline we follow, we don’t have a “what will happen next?” – wait a minute. The lack of investment in the characters really affects the impact of the final scenes in the film.
What “roofs” really seemed to miss is a conspiracy. There are ideas and suggestions that were passed on to the audience, but I felt like an unwanted guest at the party. The story seemed very weak and there wasn’t enough to keep the audience enthralled. That really let the film down. This minimalist approach didn’t put enough meat on the bones to flesh out the story or the characters. The lack of introduction to the characters meant I didn’t have an investment in them. If there had been some sort of introduction to who each was and the audience had learned more about them and their friendship group, it would have made a huge difference to the rest of the movie.
A highlight of the short film was Alex Leombruno’s camera. The shots in the cramped apartment felt intimate, while still managing to get the right shot. Working in these difficult conditions is not easy. There was some excellent footage that really showed the city, capturing the city skyline and a local park. Also in the last scene on the roof we can see the skyline as the sun goes down. A great setting for any movie, and visually a fantastic way to end a short film.
I really enjoyed the soundtrack. I found it very much in keeping with the style and location of this short film. However, at times the dialogue seemed to come and go, making it difficult to hear and understand at certain points
Timothy J. Cox plays Robert the Superfan. Not only does Cox steal the one scene he’s in, but his performance is the climax of the short film. He immediately jumps off the screen with a strong presence and energetic performance.
I thought Rooftops had great promise with a very strong opening but ultimately fell flat with a lack of story or character development. Some solid camerawork made the short film visually appealing and it’s clear that director Bruce Bradbury knows how to make a short film, unfortunately the plot and script held it back.