Shift (2012) Review: A Homeless Man Changes The Life Of Another Young Boy

Yell! Magazine’s review of Shift (2012):

One Thursday morning, a random knock at my door awakens me. In a wicked sprint, I burst free from my storage room dwelling and climb up the stairs on all fours – naked – making my way to the mailbox.

There is a package, fresh from Toronto, addressed to me by hand. Inside, there is a DVD screener and a handwritten note:

“Hey, NAME WITHHELD, your publicist told me that you’d be reviewing this film – go hard on it.”

“Ok,” I said, to no one in particular. “I will do that thing that you just told me to do.”

And so, I sat down, grabbed myself a plate of curried tapenade, set my critical perceptions to the tune of “be an asshole” and began watching Shift – a 25 minute short film written, directed, and produced by Keith Hodder.

Now, you’ve probably never heard of this film, and you most likely won’t hear about it, with the exception of this review, but we here at Yell! Magazine like to promote independent artists to the best of our ability. It’s a slow month for movies too, so uh – two birds with one stone.

Basically, Shift is the story about a young university graduate named Ryan (Nick Stojanovic) who’s failed at his attempt to land himself a job in his unnamed field of study. Appropriately, he finds himself returning home on a long road trip to Nova Scotia. Along the way, he’s treated to the company of a hitchhiker (Christian McKenna) who represents the polar opposite of Ryan’s own over-achieving ideals. With an increasing attraction to a life without worry or responsibility, he finds himself locked dead-center between making one out of two life choices: Remain steadfast on the path of familiar but abstracted self-imposed obligation, or give the notion of letting-go-entirely a chance.

Shift (2012) Directed by Keith Hodder

It’s a decent (if hackneyed) story that exists as something that we can all relate to, and is wisely kept intimate to make up for its low budget – as is usually the case with personally funded films like this. It’s directed very technically, and isn’t particularly stylized, but then again, it doesn’t have to be. In terms of the story we’re presented with, it’s executed in a way that ultimately works.

With the exception of one small thing.

Uh, well – two small things.

Now, firstly one might surmise that something is simply “off” about this movie in terms of the dialogue. Could it be the acting? No, the acting is fine. Maybe there’s no chemistry between the main characters? No – for what it is, the chemistry is where it needs to be. Is it the dialogue itself – the manner in which it’s written? No – NO, damn it, stop asking the wrong questions! The dialogue is fine in terms of its use to move the story forward as quickly as possible; the hitchhiker asks the right questions to draw out Ryan’s current problems so that we can see him develop as a character.

What the hell was the problem then? The film started out great in its first act and built up a decent atmosphere and got us ready to connect with its protagonist, so why in the hell does this immersive quality remove itself from the second act?

See the trailer and read the verdict after the jump…

Shift (2012) Poster
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
Keith Hodder
Nick Stojanovic, Candy Pryce, Len Perdic, and Christian McKenna
Drama, Thriller
Official URL:
Shift (2012)

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