It’s not a light subject, a school shooting. Many have stained America’s history from the last decades and still do. Even if the rest of the world is not used to being witness to events like these at their own homes, the suffering of common people in any country can make others cringe in fear and sadness thousands of miles away. Even through the pain, a positive look towards this tragedies can still be taken: the possibility of recovery before an attack or emotional containment for the bullied is always a good thing. Tragic events often come with great lessons that, if heeded, can help avoid bad situations in the future and ensure some social safety for the younger citizens.
A comedic view on this subject can definitely make some people uncomfortable, but as the plot of A Hero For A Day develops, a useful and positive message can be found. Even if the motivations of the main character are weak (usually violent students are tormented heavily and at a very young age), the funny approach is visible from the first 10 seconds of the short. Even if this is a questionable way of depicting a tense situation like this one, there is definitely not a bad intention behind it. On the contrary, the tendency to show the demonized character that is the shooter as a guy who just got his buttons pushed too often can help bring a kinder eye on The Bullied and in consequence, make them easier to approach.
With the success 13 Reasons Why has had in the month after its release, the spotlight is definitely focused on school attendees and their behaviour around their peers and at home. This will resonate positively with the problematics brought up on A Hero For a Day.
Much of this optimistic take on a bullying victim is expressed through the colors and soundtrack of the short. This is definitely intentional and was achieved perfectly. It will remind the viewer of past comedy works like Guy Ritchie’s Snatch or a more recent The Hangover. The messy ways of the protagonist, the literally colorful scenery and the figuratively colorful supporting characters make this more of a realized teenage fantasy than a piece of social comment, but the mastery with which it was assembled shows great creative potential in the hands of Lifan Wang and Shannon Brunetti.
Even with a big budget and great technical tools, we are short of directors that can show good understanding of the basic rules of filmmaking and a great variety of pleasant aesthetic choices. This is very well accompanied by the work of the actors. The mood tone of the short varies greatly from start to finish, and the performances make the viewer slide easily between one (a very tense and dangerous situation) and the the other (a funny environment), back and forth before the very positive ending sequence. Comedy works perfectly, a the presence of Rage makes it much more effective. A hint of determination was needed to bring our hero to the front line, for better or worse, and finding that strength within is also a fun detail.
It would be wise to keep an eye on Lifan Wang’s future projects, but for now taking a look to his past productions will definitely keep us entertained.