Manic Baby presents Consignment
Consignment movie - Port Cities Review

Port Cities Review's Mark Vanderpool reviews Justin Hannah's "Consignment"
Posted March 25, 2013

Mark Vanderpool of Port Cities Review recently posted this review of Justin Hannah's "Consignment." Source: IMDB.

A visual masterpiece. And a perplexing short film you'll want to watch more than once.

Imagine, this is 1954 and you're walking around in Any Smalltown, USA. The drugstore is a study in polished chrome and is also the best place to buy a coke and a sandwich. Everywhere you look, the women still wear dresses and the men still wear hats. Streets are kept clean. Cars are once again, like the drugstore, a study in polished chrome. None of this is retro if it's the time you're living in and the first time you're living through it. It all seems new. It doesn't evoke an art critic's term, like Americana, so much as it just feels like America.

But this is a version of 1954 that you might not expect. It's a place where just beneath good manners and conventional gender roles, that sweet old lady who runs the consignment shop might be dealing knowingly in cursed objects. It's a place where even the shiniest trinket box can hold a dark secret. This is the world of Justin Hannah's short film, "Consignment."

For an independent film accomplished on a very small budget, it's a visual masterpiece. Scenes are set up very well and almost every shot includes vintage artifacts. It isn't just period clothing and home furnishings the filmmakers got right, but with lots of help, even some fairly big-scale or expensive things, like classic automobiles, and all the way down to the matchsticks and bobby pins. The establishing shots are inviting and draw the viewer in, interior spaces seem period and authentic, and the choice of black and white is ideal. We've all seen B&W used in a retro way to establish a period piece, but seldom this well. The play of light and shadows and the occasional use of reflecting surfaces are both achieved with finesse. Justin Hannah and cinematographer Lee Clements have approached both the filming and the editing with keen eyes.


"A visual masterpiece... a perplexing short film you'll want to watch more than once." - Mark Vanderpool, Port Cities Review

Add to the visual appeal a haunting original soundtrack by Robert Casal commissioned just for this film and fitting it perfectly. The total aesthetic is reminiscent of early David Lynch, complete with the obligatory bow to Alfred Hitchcock.

Then to the story, competently acted by all the players, but with a through-line which can grow just a little confusing. Not muddled, mind you, but perplexing, in a good way, providing a riddle that will challenge you to watch this short film more than once. Without spoiling the plot, it's enough to say that Consignment involves multiple senses of the title word, as well as lost love, a charmed object, and a curse. Knowing that much, what more could you need? Go and watch Consignment by Justin Hannah and the whole team at Manic Baby. Allow this film to speak for itself.

Mark Vanderpool,
Founder & Publisher, Port Cities Review
March 2013

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"Consignment" is a stylish period drama written and directed by Justin Hannah, starring Abbra Smallwood, Margaret Wuertz, Jake Gilliam and Jessica McGill, with cinematography by Lee Clements and music by Robert Casal.

Described in reviews as "an alluring, multi-layered film experience" and "a beautifully realized, thought provoking short film," the movie has drawn comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. "Consignment" won awards for Best Cinematography at the 2015 Blaquefyre Independent Film Festival, Best Kentucky Short at the 2014 Autumn Shorts Film Festival, Best Short Film at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo, and Most Original Film at the 2013 Floyd Film Festival.

Justin Hannah's "Consignment" is now available for instant streaming on Hulu and Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Vimeo On Demand, and IndieFlix.


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