NON HORROR REVIEW- Leave it to the United States of America to enter the sloppy film-making work of ‘Day One’ into the Oscar pool and because of the wartime plot, become widely received by it’s citizens as much more than what it is.
The only American representative in the 88th Academy Award nominated live-action short-film category, the Henry Hughes co-written and directed 25 minute film is the weakest of the five in an overall sense.
Instead of helping audiences become more culturally aware, they are even more brainwashed by being force-fed a way of thinking due to the generically accepted roles that each of the characters play in this film. This is clearly a one-sided attempt intercepted by some third parties at depicting the life and emotions of a young woman on her first day of accompanying the U.S. military as a translator in an overseas war.
Unbelievable as much of the story seemed to be, I have no doubt that it all could have truly happened. However, the execution of this film was vastly immature most of the time, while premature at others, but never as strong as the story ‘Day One’ tries to tell.
From the poorly shot and acting sequences of the woman popping out from behind the laundry line, I was done with taking ‘Day One’ as a serious and accomplished piece of film-making. That scene was the red flag that these were aspiring amateurs or students with loads of potential but not quite there and definitely did not belong in the caliber class as the four other Oscar nominated shorts.
For me, the aforementioned scene should have seamlessly defined the direction of ‘Day One’ yet was instead laughable, reminiscent of a “Lonesome Ghost” from Disney’s late 1930’s cartoon. On top of that, I was close to thinking the film might switch directions and become a Zombie film, which might have been much more effective. Maybe not for the Academy, but for entertainment purposes or substance.
What we get following that scene is lots of justification for wartime actions and treatments, and a glorification of Hughes character while leaving critical information out of the plot, which could blindly confuse the average viewer, but it works in the favor of Hughes and the dramatic elements that Americans gobble up as much as McDonald’s or the local buffet.
Hughes poorly sets up the hail mary attempt at a shock value type dilemma instead of focusing on aspects that could bulk up the overall work of art that ‘Day One’ could have been and should have been.
Overall, ‘Day One’ houses an amazing story, but gets lost in the cliche ways of contemporary American patriotism and what appeals to the uneducated masses, which should have no room in the Academy Awards, yet somehow here it is and with a high possibility of winning the Oscar since these types of events embody infinite variables for a win. I advise you to visit the film’s offical website for more information, dayonefilm.com
As of publishing time, Red Cinemas in Greensboro North Carolina is showing all five 88th Academy Award nominated short films, if you are in or around the area, check the listings and make plans to see ‘Day One’ along with the other four incredible pieces of art before the Award Ceremony on February 28, 2016.