Time to Look At Just What Dust Has To Offer Us
As alluded to in a recent “It Came from the Archives,” it’s time for a random and sporadic new series where I review between one and three new releases from the YouTube channel Dust. As each movie is a different length, and potentially from a different creator, we’ll get a variety of interesting science fiction films. I do have to warn those that go looking around that channel, though. The episodes reviewed here will always be PG13 in their content, but I can make no guarantees about the general body of Dust’s content. Nor can I speak to how non-review stuff will handle taboo or controversial subject matters.
Now, with all that introduction out of the way, let’s cover three recent movies.
Part 1: “The Bargain”
I’ve decided—for this article at least—to order these by quality. As we go down the list, we’ll get better and better movies. Which might tip you off to how I feel about “The Bargain.” There’s a good concept here, but the acting and line delivery is bad.
Like, I have no idea if the actors just don’t natively speak English, or something’s going on with the ADR or audio, but even the physical acting is awful. The editing is fine, the effects decent enough, but someone speaks or tries to be dramatic, and it throws the entire thing off with butcher shop levels of hammy.
The only thing that saves it is that plot idea. Sure, a similar concept has been done with In Time, but it goes down avenues—if memory recalls—that they don’t explore in that movie. The exploitation of children for their “time” is a messed-up implication that works with the seedy nature of the setting. And there are enough tiny details like that to make it worth analyzing, but I’ll not recommend it to anyone looking for a good watch.
Part 2: “No Guarantee”
The only thing wrong with this movie is that the production seems a little barebones. The special effects and sets look awkward. Otherwise, this is a solid, quick, twisty bit of science fiction. The facial acting is strong, especially at the end, and I would love to see this idea made into a bigger series—or at least a book. I don’t have a lot to say about this one, except that it’s not at all a waste of your time to spend the five minutes it takes to watch it.
Part 3: “It’s Okay”
No joke, this is one of the best science fiction things I’ve experienced in years. Every aspect of it leads to a moment that made me (and a lot of other people who saw it according to the comments) burst into full-body sobbing. This is one of the most affecting tragedies I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. Sure, some may argue the use of broadly relatable couple moments is a little cheap of a tactic, but it’s the only way that something like this could be pulled off in as little time as it is. It’s not sympathy bait, it’s efficient storytelling being wielded like a surgical knife.
This would never work, though, if not for stellar acting combined with sublime editing and camera work. The characters jumping back and forth between panic and being forced into a preset pattern could not have been easy to portray, but it’s eerily believable and seamless. Similarly, the glitch effects, attention to grounding details of the world, and simple but evocative camera movements allow the performances to be as impactful as they are.
If the team behind this short film ever made a full-fledged movie with the same level of production value and skill as they’ve done here, then they’ll deserve several awards. This film alone already does. If you only ever watch one thing from the Dust YouTube channel, let it be “It’s Okay.” Because it’s more than okay, it’s a masterpiece.
And that’s our newest foray into Dust. It’s always good to see what the indie community is making, and what pieces of gold can be found amongst the sand. What glimmers of brilliance we can find amongst all the dust of fictional worlds.
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