One of the most original short films I’ve seen in a long time. The Kármán Line takes a vivid image of a floating woman and creates a powerful story that explores loss, vulnerability and grief all in the space of twenty –five minutes. Olivia Colman is simply superb as a mother who is plagued by an illness that makes her levitate upwards, over the course of two weeks, into orbit. Director Oscar Sharp’s willingness to take a sensitive subject and turn it on its head has created a poignant and memorable piece of film.
At first you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a comedic piece as you see Olivia Colman suspended above the ground of her own living room as if stuck in concrete, but it soon becomes apparent that this isn’t at the heart of director Oscar Sharp’s narrative. Sharp was inspired by his own mother’s battle with her Leukemia diagnosis and he was haunted by a visual image of a levitating woman. He did not know till later that the heart of this film was not the novelty of levitation, but the slow and painful experience of loosing a member of your family.
Shaun Dooley (The Woman in Black, Eden Lake) plays a perfect counter part to Colman’s levitating act as the grieving father and husband who can see his wife literally slipping out of his hands and into the roof above, his best scene is perhaps one where he attempts to drag his wife back down to earth again, as he can’t stand to see her go, injuring her in the process. Robbie Ryan’s (Wuthering Heights, Fishtank, Red Road) cinematography gives the short the feel of a much larger production, but still blesses the imagery with ample warmth and intimacy.
This is an astonishing short film, with a stellar cast and a bright and imaginative team behind it. Oscar Sharp has managed to take an original idea and transform it into a sensitive and profound story. It is certainly the most enjoyable short I’ve seen this year.
By Will Harper
You can catch The Kármán Line at https://www.wearecolony.com/companion/explore/the-karman-line where you can buy the film and get loads of behind the scenes extras.