Here’s something different: Damien Chazelle, the acclaimed director behind “Whiplash” and “La La Land,” has released a short film shot entirely in vertical display on an iPhone. Titled “The Stunt Double,” the short film stars Tom McComas as the eponymous stunt double — McComas is a professional stunt performer whose credits range from “The Dark Knight” and “Euphoria” to “Sonic the Hedgehog” — whose life flashes before his eyes during an especially outlandish scene.
The film opens with McComas performing in some sort of action movie where he flees from a gun-toting duo by jumping off of a tall building. When his parachute fails, McComas closes his eyes and reminisces about the various films he’s performed stunts in. Chazelle’s film then flashes through McComas’ character’s career, which includes work on projects ranging from a film that riffs on “Indiana Jones” to a romantic feature. Most of the fictional movies also star Preeti Desai, who McComas’ character is in love with.
The short film is professionally shot and each scene is plenty enticing, despite being composed entirely on an iPhone 11 Pro instead of the exorbitantly expensive equipment used by most major Hollywood productions. iPhones have been used to shoot a wide variety of motion pictures, including Steven Soderbergh’s “Unsane” and “High Flying Bird,” to showcase the increasing power of smartphone cameras.
While the production values of Chazelle’s “The Stunt Double” are undeniable, the use of vertical display isn’t quite as convincing. The scenes work well enough in the display and some shots — such as a cowboy preparing to draw his pistol — somewhat benefit from it, though it’s hard to shake the feeling that the traditional horizontal display wouldn’t have been more appealing.
Regardless, as far as experimental filmmaking goes, “The Stunt Double” is a superb way to kill nine minutes. Chazelle and the film’s crew discussed working on the project in a behind-the-scenes video uploaded by Apple to coincide with the short film’s release.
Chazelle’s Hollywood profile has risen considerably in recent years due to his directorial work on the acclaimed “Whiplash” and “La La Land.” He recently made his television debut with Netflix’s “The Eddy,” a music drama that stars André Holland.
Check out Chazelle’s “The Stunt Double” below: