The Oscar nominations were revealed on Monday, and amongst them were some pleasant surprises and annoying snubs, along with 15 different nominations of the best short films that are on offer, in the categories of Documentary, Animation and Live Action, respectively. Among the Best Live Action Shorts is The Letter Room, a expertly-made short directed and written by Elvira Lind.
The short stars Lind’s husband, Oscar Isaac as Richard, a sweet and quiet prison officer, who is transferred to “the letter room”, where he must inspect the letters that have been sent to the inmates. He soon becomes very invested in an inmates’ personal letters sent to his forbidden love. And, when one of them discusses suicide, he decides he must intervene.
The short, running at 32 minutes long, has some really great performances on offer. Isaac, as always, is really great in the lead role, while there is a great appearance by Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat. Appearing near the end of the short, Shawkat gets a great monologue that is really well-performed. There is also some great supporting performances by relative unknowns, Brian Petros and John Douglas Thompson.
Lind is great behind the camera, and she is a terrific visual storyteller. She doesn’t go overboard with telling the audience what is happening, and instead leaves a lot to the audience’s imagination. The short takes great affection to it’s characters, particularly it’s lead character. He always comes across as a kind, sweet, albeit flawed man that we always find interesting.
As always, while watching a short film, you begin to wonder if it would translate well to a feature film format. And, I think it’s fair to say that it would make a great feature film. It could be like a nicer, sweet version of Taxi Driver. Whether or not an adaptation is on the cards, Lind definitely has a great career ahead of her as a filmmaker.
The Letter Room is available from Vimeo on Demand.