When it comes to short films based on popular source material, or any short film for that matter, I find that they manage to trump their blockbuster cousins in every way based solely on the passion you can feel the filmmakers had for their projects. Where big budget films feel clinical and unemotional–and are just “going through the motions” as it were–short films feel new and packed full of emotional potency. It’s a testament to filmmaking when a small team can make a twenty minute film and have it be more complex and gripping than even the best blockbusters Hollywood can churn out. The same can be said here of The Brothers Rapture, a short film based on the original Bioshock game that enraptured us all (horrifically lame pun intended).
Framing The Story
Written and directed by Shaun Rykiss and starring Nicolas Taggart and Jonathan Alexander as the titular brothers, this short film manages to deliver an exceptionally emotional tale while also making more than a few nods to the game it is based on just to please the more eagle eyed fan. The story begins either during or just before the events of the game as we are introduced to Charles (Nicolas Taggart) as he listens to an audiotape left behind by his brother Arthur (Jonathan Alexander). These tapes frame the real story which takes place four years before the fall of Rapture as the brothers are just setting up shop. From the very get-go it’s clear that Charles has been put through the emotional ringer and is far more cynical of Rapture and Andrew Ryan while Arthur is more bright eyed and eager to take advantage of the opportunities the city offers.
However, it is after the brothers are introduced to plasmids by a shifty salesman from Fontaine Futuristics named Mr. Tippet (played by Jake Croker) that they truly become inspired to take their art to new heights. However, as they continue to utilize plasmids in their art they begin to suffer the inevitable side-effects that come with them and soon begin to grow addicted to adam like the rest of Rapture. Anyone who has played Bioshock already knows just how doomed these brothers are, but that doesn’t stop you from being absolutely surprised at how their tale ends. Needless to say, by the end I was melancholic yet satisfied. Plus, I now want to bust out my old copy of Bioshock.
Performance, Sets and Script, Oh My!
The performances here are spectacular. Actors Taggart and Alexander have a remarkable chemistry that sells the idea that they are brothers who have been through a lot together and their dialogue shows just how close they are. Alexander in particular stands out as the more energetic of the brothers, but he still manages to get scary when the plot requires it of him. The scene of him telling Charles that he wants to “build mountains” was by far the most chilling in the entire film. However, I’d have to say that Jake Croker’s Mr. Tippet practically steals the show. Croker makes him the sleaziest salesman in the world, and I loved every second of it. Even I would probably end up buying whatever Mr. Tippet was selling if he came to my door. All in all, the acting was superb.
The set design is also worth noting as the film takes place entirely in the brothers’ workshop. I absolutely loved this set and could honestly see myself wandering into it through the course of the game if I looked hard enough. Even props such as the jars containing the notorious plasmids and the ridiculously large hypos used to inject them are spot on. The level of detail here is one of the many strong points about this film and fans of the game will love the little references scattered throughout the film.
The Brothers Rapture manages to capture the entire story of Rapture and distill it into a scant 17 minutes without feeling rushed or cluttered. The story itself is a work of art in and of itself, and a heartfelt love letter to the original Bioshock. The acting is solid and the set and prop design make you feel like you’re back in the underwater city once again. If you’re a huge fan of the games or simply enjoy short films, I seriously recommend you watch it right now!
We give The Brothers Rapture 4 Nerds out of 5
And because we know you really can’t wait – we have posted it below via its official YouTube page, for your viewing pleasure!
Source: The Brothers Rapture – YouTube
You can find out more about The Brothers Rapture on their official Facebook page here.