Eli (Rahel Romahn) is absolutely reeling after the sudden disappearance of his seeing-eye dog. He’s already isolated and lonely after losing his mother to cancer, and losing his eyesight slowly over time due to a retinal illness. His business he started with his mother, a juice shop, shut down after her death. There really isn’t much Eli has anymore – even his neighbors are cruel to him. The loss of his dog is a crushing blow. It isn’t until a visit from an old friend that Eli realizes the amazing new opportunities this sudden loss could open up for him.
BLOOD ORANGE plays with the whimsy and attention to detail that I’d expect from a Wes Anderson film. The color palette, the cinematography (by Kieran Fowler), the costume design (by Vittoria Dentice) and production design (by Lee Launay)… all perfectly exquisite. There is not a single detail missed here. BLOOD ORANGE takes place in a timeless, familiar but unknown world. Pleasantville meets Edward Scissorhands, with a sprinkle of The Royal Tenenbaums thrown in for balance and good measure. Bright, bold colors perfectly contrast the dark, deceivingly simple story. BLOOD ORANGE is just like Eli’s juice recipe – a delicious blend of sweet, sour, savory, and unexpected.
A highlight on top of highlights in this wild ride of a short, is the narration by Rod Mullinar. His rich, raspy voice is like honey drizzling into a glass of iced tea… or, in this case, juice. Another lovely note of flavor is the musical score, which plays on all the whimsy and beauty of the film. There is quite simply not a wrong note at any point in this sweet little symphony.
BLOOD ORANGE is a satisfying surprise, and an exactly perfect short film. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I’m sure, there are few things like a short film that has no aspirations to be anything but a short film. A film that knows exactly what it is speaks to my soul. BLOOD ORANGE speaks to my dark, twisted, horror-loving soul.