Laboratory Conditions packs so much punch in just under 20 minutes that you forget it’s not a narrative feature!
Dr. Emma Holloway makes a late night discovery at work when she comes to the realization that a patient was missing. Unbeknownst to her, the patient–in the final hours of life–is found to have been taken by a medical school nearby. It’s there where Marjorie Cane (Minnie Driver) is running an experiment to see whether a soul is left upon death. Cane just happens to be the chair of the neuroscience department so whatever Holloway thinks is going to have to go up against her.
Running with two cameras, the framing upon Holloway entering the lab is absolutely beautiful. It’s not only the framing from director of photography Ben Kutchins but also Tomei’s reaction to the huge laboratory. Combine the two of them and it’s such an awesome sight to see.
The film’s composer, Andrew Kawczynski, is someone to keep your eye on. He comes from the Hans Zimmer music family so it would not be a surprise to see him working on the big blockbusters soon in his own right.
There’s some interesting ideas here, much thanks to Terry Rossio’s screenplay. What happens to the soul upon death? Laboratory Conditions has some ideas but should we really focus on the science of it? Can’t we just let people move on after death?
For a short film, Laboratory Conditions offers up a top-notch cast led by Marisa Tomei and Minnie Driver. Not many short films would be able to pull off the likes of these two in casting but much of the credit goes to producer Joe Russell and director Jocelyn Stamat’s vision of what the film should be–not to mention the rest of the cast and crew.
Even though Laboratory Conditions is a short film, it plays as if it were a narrative feature.
DIRECTOR: Jocelyn Stamat
SCREENWRITER: Terry Rossio
CAST: Marisa Tomei, Minnie Driver, Paulo Costanzo, Lisa Renee, Robert Scheid, John Kearney
An official selection of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, Laboratory Conditions screened in the Into the Void shorts program.