S.L.R. opens with a shot of a gorgeous woman in a dress walking down the street. Within seconds of her introduction, the camera pulls back to reveal a man (Liam Cunningham) with a camera of his own snapping photos of the woman from an open window. The woman was clearly unaware that she was being photographed, but for the viewer, the fragment of beauty that comes from her presence is, within seconds, tarnished by the perversion of one voyeuristic man.
This brief moment speaks volumes about S.L.R.’s message. When the woman is introduced, many viewers would immediately find her attractive. As she briskly walks down the sunlit street; her beauty almost commands attention. However, that admiration takes an uncomfortable turn when it is revealed that we as an audience are watching her from the perspective of a pervert.
Things grow even more uneasy in the following moments, however, as a montage of imagery show the man uploading photos to a voyeur website that is filled with upskirt shots and video taken of women in changing rooms. It's very apparent that we're dealing with a deviant who takes no issue with exploiting women by uploading their photos and videos to the internet for the pleasure of other’s as well as his own.
While his introduction gives the viewer a glimpse of a man who is quite appalling, what is seen when the audience is actually faced with the man in his regular day-to-day life is completely different. From his appearance, he doesn't quite fit the mold of your typical scummy old man. Instead, he's a wealthy well-to-do gentleman with a nice home and car – not someone you would call the cops on for hanging around in a park, which greatly speaks to perception.
The man even seems to have a great relationship with his daughter (Amy Wren). Interestingly, though, the moment she is revealed, his previous actions become all the more creepy and disturbing. How could a guy with a daughter take photos of unsuspecting women, post them to the internet for others to leer at, and be okay with it? This would be where things take a fitting turn for the man, as seconds before masturbating to some voyeuristic photos of a gorgeous girl, he realizes that the photos are of his own daughter.
Written and directed by Stephen Fingleton, S.L.R. is a short form thriller that looks at just how easy it is for some people to treat others like they are objects because they have no connection to them. However, when it’s say, your daughter, or mother, or sister, or friend, or whatever, things become entirely different. The thought of some random pervert exploiting someone you care about is as alienating as it is infuriating.
Within its 20 minute runtime, S.L.R. features great performances from the scant cast, and the relationship between the father and daughter is believable. The short is also nicely put together, featuring great cinematography and editing that results in a clean, crisp and professional looking movie. There’s truly an incredible amount of talent on display here, and I can do nothing more than highly recommend giving your time to this fantastic, creepy little thriller.
Be sure to follow up S.L.R. with its companion piece, Selfie (2014), which I reviewed IN THE FUTURE!! It, too, is a great short, and the two films really compliment one another.