On the border between reality and nightmare, ‘M‘ is a project that strikes you with its insidious violence. No, we are not talking about the cult movie signed by Fritz Lang, although the director of this short film, Victor De Almeida, apparently gives us a kind of cinematic praise to his master. However, the short film is far from a pastiche, despite the parallels that exist even beyond the title. The central concept is, indeed, the Murder, but the director’s affinity with expressionist or noir cinema comes, rather, from other sources. However, the intertext is used intelligently without degenerating into an imitation that lacks originality. The viewer can feel behind the protagonist’s process of self-flagellation the atmosphere of the films signed by Robert Wiene or Rouben Mamoulian if we admit that Victor De Almeida’s intention is to “recycle” the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Finally, the costumes, the makeup or the elements related to the corporality of the main actor and his Mephistophelean energy remind us of Alex, the protagonist of “A Clockwork Orange”, while the colours, frames and music convey the feeling of a Hitchcockian “Vertigo”.
No matter his other sources of inspiration, the director proves an important theorem applicable to many contemporary creators: the quality of a film lies in the way each one assimilates the elements taken from their masters. Thus, beyond the iconography used, the perspective that Victor De Almeida applies to the central theme (the splitting of the ego / the obsessive image of the doppelganger) manages to be fresh, despite its “popularity”. This is obviously due to the cinematography itself, the suffocating atmosphere, the twilight chromatic, the electro dark baroque music, the work of the main actor and the unpredictable, disruptive editing that blurs the line between reality, dream, and trauma. ‘M’ is, therefore, a successful cinematic experiment that homogenizes a series of influences converging in a coherent universe. But above all, ‘M’ is an extremely well-conducted visceral experience and a well-balanced magnetic thriller.