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Random Stop

A gripping first person POV reenactment of the tragic last moments of the life of a police officer.

2014 | 5 - 10 | Crime | P.O.V | Thriller | USA

A quiet day in the life of a county police officer. One routine stope, a phone call with his wife, everything goes by as usual. The sudden arrival of an high speeding pickup truck will change everything.

This is the true story of the deputy sheriff of  Laurens County, Georgia, Kyle Dinkheller. In 1998, aged 22, he was killed in a brutal manner by an unhinged Vietnam veteran that he had stopped for speeding.

With “Random Stop”, director Benjamin Arfmann decided to faithfully reenact the last moments of the young police officer’s life, and to do so he decided to shoot in POV, in an apparent 6 minutes long shot.

We never see our protagonist, we are totally identified with him. It is not the first time we see a POV short film, but the emotional impact and the constant suspense of Random Stop are unique.  The short is incredibly dynamic, both the protagonists and the viewers can never catch a breath: the car chase, the confrontation between the policeman and the out of control man, the bloody  final shootout … it’s all perfectly orchestrated and one can never look away.

The perfectly choreographed movements and actions were carried out after intensive rehearsals, the director has said that they approached the making of the short as if they were producing a theater piece.

In addition to the actorial and directorial talent, however,  the main aspect to be considered is the high technical quality of the film. To realise the POV shot, a very small and manageable camera, the SI-2K Nano was mounted on a helmet that was then worn by the actor. The customization was  made ​​by DoP Justin Perkinson in collaboration with Radiant Images. So they used a truly unique camera that allowed  them to obtain constantly sharp and clean images , even in the more frantic actions.

From a narrative point of view, the POV works on various levels. First, the identification and empathy with the protagonist are total. But there’s more. Given the dangerous situation and the images that almost seem to be (passively) controlled by the viewer, there is a strong adherence to the video games imagery. We become the young policeman, we try to react to the aggression, and ultimately suffer defeat with him. This strong similarity with something extremely fake and virtual as video games becomes alienating when one  realizes that we are witnessing a mere reconstruction of true events. Perhaps this was the intention of the director, to lead to a reflection about our relationship with violence, while avoiding any kind of moralism and only showing the reality of things, as opposed to the glorified heroes of video games.

The film premiered at SXSW this year and was among the finalists for the BAFTA Student Film Awards .

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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