The short film Gridlock starts with an already impatient Eoin (Moe Dunford) driving, engaged in a heated phone conversation, when he’s forced to a stop. An accident up ahead on a small Irish road has him briefly exiting to investigate, leaving Emma (Robyn Dempsey), his daughter, to wait. Upon his return he finds her missing, and that’s where this short taps into its unnerving energy.
Suspicions and Accusations
It delves right into an array of personalities, both diverse and temperamental. There is the man who echoes all the negative possibilities one is thinking, and who jumps on the opportunity to search and point fingers. The couple, irritable at first, who join the hunt once they find out a child is missing. We have the initial suspect, a man who has a doll similar to Emma’s in his backseat. Lastly, the quiet and creepy man who refuses to acknowledge anyone, who remains locked within his car.
Is someone responsible? Which one?
Gridlock: A Tangible Scare
Gridlock captures people in crisis, laden with uncertainty, and the varied reactions that come with it. The route that director Ian Hunt Duffy takes increasingly reminds the audience of the high stakes of the situation, and the performances further drive it home. It’s a realistic and effectual depiction of a discomforting setting.
Written by Darach McGarrigle, the script chooses dialogue wisely, illustrating the discord among these strangers on the road. It’s a twenty-minute exercise on the complexity of emotions, and the desire to blame or justify behavior within extreme circumstances.
With its limited time it uses each minute carefully, crafting the story with a palpable tension, and providing us with just enough information on the possible suspects to keep us enthralled. The shift from subtle to intense continuously builds until the crescendo with its final image (and twist).
What did you think of Gridlock? Did it have you on the edge of your seat?
Gridlock was released July 2016 in Ireland and October 7, 2017 in the US. For more information click here.