Nic Barker’s short film is an idea that could have easily translated in to a compelling romance drama. Barker practices the idea of mumblecore and it works beautifully to convey a foursome of relationships that have either reach their expiration date, or are about to very soon. “Dead Sharks” is more of an ensemble drama based around the Woody Allen quote about how relationships have to move forward like sharks or they die. These relationships are attempting to move forward, but it doesn’t take a genius to see they’re dead.
Oddly enough, “Dead Sharks” watches a lot like the latter day Woody Allen relationship dramas where every relationship and dynamic we watch are complex and filled with a ton of baggage that reflect what we currently see. We’re forced to watch the awkward pauses and violent arguments unfold, wondering if anyone will ever have the guts to put an end to their relationship. Sadly, one or more of the people here will never see it through and stick to what is not the most ideal romance we can think of.
The performances are fantastic, flowing with conversations that feel natural and realistic. I usually hate mumblecore, but “Dead Sharks” uses the device so well to depict the stark grim nature of how these relationships are dying and how both partners are contributing in their own way. The collective cast of Fiona Norman, Hannah Vanderheide, Bryce Padovan, Taylor Hemsworth, Jackson Tozer, Skye Young and Robin Brown offer excellent performances with director Nic Barker’s direction and black and white photography lending a bleak aesthetic reflective of the film’s content. “Dead Sharks” is a well constructed relationship drama, and I one I could have seen at least two hours of.