Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Plot: Joshua and Mariah are a happy young couple. But Joshua has a dreadful secret that, once revealed, will shake them both to the core.
Review: The latest short film from Trinidadian director Aaron Caruth (Stranger Tings, Jess), Kisses on Cuts centres on a young couple, Joshua (Daniel Baptiste, who also wrote the film) and Mariah (Mikayla Almandoz), and the former’s major secret. I’m not going to spoil the secret (watch it for yourself you Nosey Nellie) nor go too much into plot details here but will be keeping things pretty general.
With a two-character film (see Malcolm & Marie for a feature length version of this set-up) you have to, bound to, must have strong performances from both your leads. If not, it all falls down like a house of cards in a hurricane. And with Kisses on Cuts both Baptiste and Almandoz bring their A game. I’m familiar with Baptiste from comedy shorts and commercials but this is my first time seeing him in a dramatic role. And you can tell he put in a lot of thought and effort into crafting a realistic character. This is my first time seeing Almandoz on screen and she is pretty dang good, bringing a wit and effortlessness that I enjoyed. The two leads have a sweet, funny and steamy chemistry that is a welcome calm before the storm. And when the storm comes, they both have the dramatic chops to weather it as well. I do love a continued metaphor.
I did say I was not going to get into the plot details, and I am a man of my word. I will say that I saw the secret coming from a mile away and it was not exactly breaking the mould of what had come before in the realm of cinema. That said, the material is handled well, and Baptiste’s writing thankfully avoids devolving into soap opera-esque melodrama.
So, if you’ve got a hankering for a quick slice of Trini drama (very quick at just about 10 minutes) with pain, passion and heart then allow me to prescribe some Kisses on Cuts.
Score: 7 out of 10
You can check out the film for yourself by clicking here. And you can check out more great Trinidad and Tobago short film content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating tabletop games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.