- Film & TV
- 09 Apr 20
What is it like to live in a world where the streets are bare, and connecting with other people seems impossible? These may be the questions we’re all asking ourselves right now, but they’re also the issues addressed in Decibel, a short film written by Rory Cashin.
Available to watch on Vimeo now, the film is directed by Phil Ronayne and stars Striking Out actor Emmet Byrne as Albert, who suffers from a debilitating sensitivity to sound and decides to create a machine which may solve all his problems. Disaster strikes when the device malfunctions, endangering the city and the girl he loves.
With a fantastic, atmospheric soundscape that evoke Albert’s experience of the world, it’s ironic that Cashin’s inspiration actually came from his understanding how difficult working with sound on film can be.
“I had written a fair few shorts previously to this one, and on each and every one of them, there seemed to be a problem with the sound when it came to the editing process. So I decided to write a script that had as little live recording of sound as possible!” says Cashin. “But from there it expanded into something else, about the difficulties of connection and being overwhelmed in the world today. And as each draft went by, it focused more on those aspects, but with the spine of sound being taken away from everyone.”
As the film develops and director Ronayne captures striking imagery of an empty city centre, with glowing signs declaring ‘Please Remain Indoors - City Curfew In Full Effect’, Decibel has coincidentally tapped into the nation’s current situation. But Decibel isn’t just evoking he coronavirus, its release has been affected by it, as Ronayne and Cashin changed their original release plans and decided instead to that make the film available to view online, so that everyone in social isolation can watch it at home.
“There were plans to have a proper screening for this for anyone who wanted to keep see it on the big screen, but with what happened with the coronavirus, that all went away,” explains Cashin. “Some of the aspects of the film, from the empty streets to people being told by the government to stay home, are bizarrely coincidental. And some of the other, more emotive aspects, like the want and need for connection in a time when making and maintaining that connection feels very difficult, feel like they're as relevant now as they would have been a year ago or will be a year from now.”
The film has a dystopian feel but also an intimacy and tenderness, elevated by Byrne’s performance. Cashin, a writer and long-time film critic, has always appreciated films and televisions shows that explore the challenges of modern life, our fears of the future and technology, but also the resilience of both individuals and community.
“The idea of someone making something sci-fi'y and it backfiring on them in a profound and personal way is very Black Mirror, so I'd say Charlie Brooker would be a big influence,” says Cashin about his experience of writing Decibel. “Pretty much anyone who can take big, grandiose ideas and make them feel intimate and specific would be an influence to me, too. So from the big hitters like Fincher, Nolan, and Villeneuve, to the amazing relative newbies like Ari Aster and Jordan Peele.”
Cashin, who is currently working on a novel and a podcast, is happy to see Decibel released and that film lovers can now enjoy it at their leisure.
“I hope this can successfully distract you from the madness of the outside world for 13 minutes!”
Watch Decibel below.
- Film & TV
- 14 Jul 22