Hero review

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Film Review
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heroIn the short film “Hero,” 12-year-old Gina (Aimee Wood) is caught in the middle. Her one friend, Chip (Brandon Klopot), believes in heroes – in fact, he believes in Super Heroes. He wishes he could be one. Gina’s other friend, Sam (Dominique Grund), says there is no such thing as heroes, “and none stupid enough to come to our neighborhood.” Gina wants to believe in heroes – she is still hopeful. And with good reason: Gina needs a hero of her own.
As the film opens, Gina’s mother (Alice Bowden) is being rushed to the hospital and her diagnosis is not good. Gina’s father has flown the coop long ago, and her only other family member is her grandmother – estranged and alienated – and miles away. Gina is worried, afraid, and alone, and surely headed into the Foster Care system.
At the hospital, Gina meets Dr. Tom Bennett (Steve Brio), and he sees her silent cry for help – for a hero – and it brings back painful memories from his own childhood. Despite having struggles at home with his teenage daughter (Bailey Huff), Dr. Bennett convinces his wife (Shawn Huff) that they should step in and allow Gina to stay with them. This act of kindness spreads, and the rippling effect has a positive influence on everyone in the home, proof that a small act can have a major impact in someone’s life.
Steve Brio, who also wrote the screenplay, plays Dr. Bennett. For him, the film is autobiographical on more than one level. From the child’s point of view, he recalls his own childhood living in a single-parent home, where his mother had struggles of her own. The heroes for him were the emergency personnel – firefighters and paramedics – that came to his rescue on more than one occasion. These heroes had such an impact on him that he decided on a career in firefighting himself, which he does to this day (as well as writing screenplays). He sees the adult’s (Dr. Bennett’s) point of view on a daily basis.
The production value of “Hero” is top-notch – no cutting corners on this film. The opening scene with the ambulance, paramedics, and emergency room are riveting and highly impressive: great selections of shots and angles, and great use of audio, handheld shots, and editing. (Hero’s director of photography is Gonzalo Amat, and the film editor is Eugene Baldovino.) Energy, fear, and despair are brought to the screen in full force.
Having the fire department come on-board for the film was a great help, and Care Ambulance was a main sponsor. Brio says, “We had the support of the fire department. In fact, my crew volunteered as the on-screen crew in the movie. And we discovered and were able to shoot in a hospital that was in the middle of renovations. There was a whole vacant floor that we had access to.”
As for the acting, this is a great cast. Aimee Wood gives a wonderful performance as Gina. She gets great support from Alice Bowden as her mother, and there is nice turn by Tabitha Brown in the supporting role of hospital staff member Tammie. Dominique Grund has a demanding role as Gina’s hopeless friend Sam, and she is up to the challenge and turns in a very convincing performance. Sam’s flashback scene is a highlight of the film, and John Carrol is effectively menacing as the true “anti-hero.”
As you can see, a lot goes on in this 20-minute faith-based film. Director Brent Huff and Producer Zac Titus have a winner here, and their efforts should be applauded. “Hero” has appeared at more than a dozen film festivals, and was awarded Best Short Narrative in three of these festivals, Best Short Film in another, and Audience Award Best Film in yet another.
In the end, “Hero” leaves you wanting more – the mark of a good short film. Perhaps they will consider expanding this film into a feature. Until then, “Hero” can be purchased for only $5 by sending your request to Steve Brio at this email address: the3brios@gmail.com. “Hero” is well worth the effort, dollars, and time. Looking for a hero? You’ll find one here.

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