Tantalum is a shiny, silvery metal which is soft when is pure and it is almost immune to chemical attack at temperatures below 150 C. The similarities between this metal and Eric Liddle’s movie are uncanny. From the beginning, as in Pulp Fiction, there is a disclaimer saying: “The chemical element Tantalum (symbol Ta, atomic number 73). This metal I will call Tantalum...partly in allusion to its incapacity, when immersed in acid, to absorb any and be completely saturated. – Andres Gustaf Ekenberg, (Swedish chemist who discovered Tantalum)” . At first this may not seem suitable for the movie, but after you finish watching 'Tantalum' all the question that are raised during the screening will figure out by themselves.
We really enjoyed the fact that the characters remained unnamed and for a plot like this one, John and Jane Doe are the perfect “villains”. The whole narrative is set in a small and circular space and also the plot turns out to be... circular as well. From the first scene there are hints that this narrative will go on and on like a rollercoaster without being boring or overused.
We really appreciated the set, the Scottish highlands that provided inspiration for many directors overtime. Also, another thing that amazed us was the fact that this short was made by a group of students who are interested in the avant-garde and experimental cinema. We could not notice the mood of the film that was indeed one of a horror movie but filtered through Eugene Ionesco or Samuel Beckett’s literary filter. This short is not made to take the viewer by surprise, but it creates a mood that would make you as a viewer not feel comfortable at all. Also we were talking about the suitability of the title – the female character is unable to acquire memories and thoughts as the metal is immune to chemical attacks. The whole circularity in this short brings back exactly what we’ve missed all these years in cinematography: the new and fresh vision upon reality.
We have to keep an eye on this new generation of directors because they look like they found new ways of expressing the feeling through visuals and they are really good. As a proof we have the scene in the last part of the film where the shot through the rear-view mirror made us think that we are dealing with way more than some students learning how to make their first steps into filmmaking.
Review written by Vlad A.G