Short Picks: “Portal: No Escape”

Written by Josh Litman September 05, 2011

We’ve all heard the classic adage that “size doesn’t matter”…but does time? Can a short film be just as compelling as a feature length one? The answer, in short, is YES – and in 1/20th of the time to boot! Welcome to Short Picks, where I (Josh Litman) will introduce you to a variety of shorts that you simply have to see. Rather than merely talk about them, I’m going to post these flicks right here on the site for your viewing pleasure! It’s unfortunate that so few people realize how impactful a short film can be. As such, I’ve taken it upon myself to enlighten you. Enjoy!

If I had to describe this stunning short film in just one word, it would be coolPortal: No Escape is based on two highly regarded and critically acclaimed videogames developed by Valve Software – Portal and Portal 2. However, before you go running for the hills, know that this short flick crafted by Dan Trachtenberg bucks the trend and delivers a videogame-based movie that actually doesn’t suck!

A few highlights include Danielle Rayne’s believable performance as the film’s protagonist; she easily makes the role hers (and that fit body of hers certainly doesn’t hurt). Also, the visual effects are stunning, and the camerawork clever. The film also builds on the essence of the game without aping it.

That means fans of the game shouldn’t be distressed if the film decides to head in a different direction than the story they know (and probably love). After all, Portal is a puzzle game, so the filmmakers needed to find a way to bring the idea to screen in an effective manner. Fortunately, I feel they did just that. This is a seriously slick piece of entertainment.

Granted, this film does not seem intended to deliver a full-on emotional or narrative experience in its short running time. Rather, Portal: No Escape appears to be an attempt to prove, without a doubt, that the franchise can – and will – work as a feature-length movie; and sometimes, that is the primary objective of a short film (i.e., to whet your appetite for the possibility of something bigger). In this respect, the film succeeds admirably.

So check out the short below and let us know what you think! I know that after watching this, I was resolutely convinced that Portal could be a spectacular and mind-bending feature if executed correctly.

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About Josh Litman

Josh Litman

Director/producer/writer/actor/editor/cinematographer/musician/neuroscientist… Josh prides himself on being simultaneously awesome and modest. In addition to We Eat Films, Josh also produces his own work (films, writing) under the banner of Action Potential Productions and has his own website, too, where his handiwork can be viewed: -- or (if you prefer).

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