Beyond Stokes 80s-Adventure Nostalgia in the Best Possible Way

By  · Published on November 21st, 2016

Short of the Day

For every kid who ever loved their Tonka trucks.

Earlier this year the Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things series tapped into a specific vein of 80s cinematic nostalgia, that dedicated to the child-centric adventure story, not watered-down and bright-eyed romps but rather full-fledged, harrowing and perilous, adult-sized ordeals in which children were the protagonists and in fact the only ones who could thwart whatever particular evil they were facing. Films like The Goonies, or The Explorers, Stand By Me, Space Camp, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and The Monster Squad gave kids the respect of not treating them like kids, and the results were not only box-office gold, but some of the most resonant and beloved films of the era. I’m an 80s kid and I still watch every film I just listed at least once a year, some like Goonies and Stand By Me as often as I can take, and not just because they’re awesome stories, but because of the way they make me feel, the way they transmit their childlike sense of wonder and excitement, and the way they remind me what it’s like to have a movie be your whole world, what it’s like to completely disappear inside its frames.

I think writer-director Jeremy Haccoun understands these last couple of sentiments, because he’s released a short film entitled Beyond that captures the same sort of nostalgia as the above-mentioned films with a similar sense of excitement and wonder. In the film – which is gorgeously shot by Sergio Arguello on RED Epic, for you gearheads – a married couple are driving through the desert with their young son when a rock slide thwarts their progress and pins mom and dad in the demolished car. This makes sonny boy the only one who can save them, and with a spirit that recalls all your favorite child-adventure flicks, that’s exactly what he does.

Haccoun has nailed the tone he was going for, there’s no doubt about that, and as mentioned, Arguello’s crisp cinematography adds tension and heroism to the story. Of the actors, naturally Aidan Flynn, who plays young boy Leo, is the standout, though parents Jolene Kay and Michael Dane also help create a nail-biter of a short sure to get your pulse racing and your nostalgia meter flailing wildly. For all the stops along the emotional spectrum it makes, above all else Beyond is thrilling in the most fun way. This is only Haccoun’s second short film, and it’s been a decade since his first. Let’s hope he doesn’t wait so long before treating us to another.

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