Skeet Ulrich has to be one of the most under appreciated actors out there. From his role as the dreaded Billy Lomas in Scream to his cult success as Jacob Green in Jericho, he has been around for a while but never achieved the success he deserved. As an actor he definitely has talent, though it appears that he is quite the director too. After watching his haunting yet hopeful short, Girl on the Roof, starring his daughter Naiia, you can’t help but wonder why he hasn’t tried to sit in the directors chair on more occasions. In this short Ulrich has called on friends and family alike to give us this subtle tale of what it’s like to be a child in this disconnected world, it’s a dark story shone in the brightest of light and it’s beautiful in so many ways.
This tale is of a young girl who is bullied in school and ignored at home, she is quiet and introvert. This is a character that many of us can relate to, life is tough for everyone and this girl who outwardly should have it easy, is proof that no one really gets it easy. For most of the film you feel like you are just walking behind her, like you’re a ghost in her world. This is a world where she is barely more than an apparition herself. She moves through this world facing hostility at all angles yet holds herself in a quiet dignity. I won’t give away too much about the plot but I will say that the film is a lot more than you expect it to be and that says a lot for a 30 minute production.
Like I said earlier Ulrich has called on family and friends a like to create this short, I mentioned that his daughter Naiia stars in it, her skills as an actress definitely come from her father. For all you Jericho fans out there you will be very glad to see Lennie James appearing in this film, delivering in my opinion the best dialogue in the entire movie. Todd Lowe (True Blood) plays the douche bag step father, he does play sleezy so well in this, Susan May Pratt’s (10 things I hate about You) performance as an ignorant mother is outstanding and Amelia Jackson-Gray (The Campaign & Entourage) is brilliant as the mother’s assistant. She conveys so much with body language that though she does not say much you get a real feel for what her character is all about.
Earlier I mentioned about the contrast between the dark topic and the bright visuals, to further add to this was a musical score created by Angel, this musician really is one of the great sounds of the 21st century. Skeet has created a great piece of art, in 30 minutes you are sucked in by great camera work, brilliant set choices, a tense yet relaxing score and outstanding acting. I really look forward to his next production and hope it gets to the big screen.
For more information you can visit the official website at thegirlontheroof.com
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