Written by Rhys Whomsley and Xander Turian and directed by Turian himself, ‘The Gig’ is a 2022 drama short that stars Xander Turian, Issy Stewart and Samuel Burton-Harris. The film takes us backstage before a showcase gig could change the lives of an up and coming band. Xander, the lead singer, is notified that he has only ten minutes before the live performance. As he wanders out to seek Clara and Johnny, old secrets and frictions will come to light that might throw the performance and the band in disarray. In face of towering odds, Xander, Clara and Johnny will decide whether to break up or come together to change their world.
Analysing a pertinent moment in the life of a band where emotional decisions can either destroy its future or pave it with success, 'The Gig' puts the audience in the centre of a tense standoff between band members. Silences, thoughts and arguments are amplified in the claustrophobic back rooms as Xander and Clara blurt out what they had been holding inside. Hearts are broken and Clara almost walks away completely before Xander comes to his senses. The script nails down the characters and the moments perfectly as Xander, Issy and Samuel bring life to their respective personas. Xander’s direction of his and Whomsley’s screenplay is commendable as he focuses on the cracks forming within the band, increasing the underlying tension gradually until the crescendo. The high stakes, noisy and tense world of music is brought to light in stunning accuracy as the threat of the band dispersing right before their most important performance hangs over their heads like a sword.
Equally impressive is the cinematography that captures everything from lighting to the claustrophobia of backstage spaces really well. From the yellowish hues of the changing rooms to blue lit walkways, the visuals transport the audience right backstage where drama and secrets threaten to tear the band apart. As impressive the visuals are, it is the sound that really works its magic to sell the story. Therefore, from a technical perspective, the film is no less than perfect.
Xander Turian’s 'The Gig', therefore, is a creative illustration of frictions and comradery that goes on backstage. The film is expertly edited, fantastically acted and accurately captures the claustrophobia and tension before the show. There is so much to love in the film which Turian has made as an ode to the craft of music itself.