Writer and Director: Bilal Yousufzai
Cast: Mohib Mirza, Reham Rafiq, Owais Ali and Bilal Yousufzai
Director of Photography: Muntazir Mahdi Abro, Nadir Ali Mangi
Action Choreographer: Elisha Nazir
Editor: Bilal Yousufzai
Assistant Director: Elisha NazirStreaming on: YouTube (Roll Karengey Films)
The review contains spoilers. You can watch the film first and then read the review:
With the growing influence of the Internet, short films in Pakistan have finally come of age. Short films were once the staple of the festival circuit but have currently caught the imagination of the masses in a big way. Thanks to the category’s booming popularity, all kinds of filmmakers and enthusiasts along with some of the most acclaimed actors are working together to release short-length films with lesser budgets and creating an impact, bigger than ever before.
‘Netflix Level’ primarily highlights the plight of writers who experience all sorts of hardships to get their content approved by producers. It’s an honest depiction of how channels and producers plot dirty gimmicks to gain the highest TRP’s, by putting the creative urges of writers at stake. ‘Netflix Level’ opens on an interesting note as all the central characters are introduced right away. Bilal Yousafzai plays a (writer) who pitches ideas to Mohib Mirza a (producer) obsessed with Netflix. Raham Rafiq is an (assistant) to Mohib.
What follows next is an endearing exchange of ideas between the two. Will the writer be successful in convincing the producer or will he end up compromising? The story unravels in the next 13:53 minutes as we get to know the high-end demands of the producers who eventually settles down with run-of-the-mill content. The big catch of the film is the hilarious line ‘Netflix Se Baat Chal Rahi Hai’ cleverly plugged into the narrative at regular intervals.
The director Bilal Yousufzai deserves all accolades for bringing forth an important issue, beautifully woven together with comedy and action. When you watch the film, you will realize how much effort must have gone into synchronizing things; everything from the action to the camerawork, the direction, the background score, and the dialogues are incredibly on point. Also, the narrative moves into constant flashbacks, but thankfully they are controlled and don’t distract our concentration even once. It has layers that, despite its short duration, delivers a message in a hard-hitting way, a climax that is as punch-laden as it is ingenious, and the way the title of this film is justified is plain brilliant.
For the unversed, Roll Karengey films (RKF) is helmed by Bilal Yousufzai. RKF started with an aim to produce high quality digital content and promote new talent too. So far, the production house holds a record of making eleven web series in one year (2019). Bilal Yousafzai is a surely a huge potential of being a big-screen filmmaker.
Boosted by magnificent performances, the film mainly rests on Mohib and Bilal’s shoulders and they are on fire. They set the tone right from the word go. Raham Rafiq hardly gets any dialogues, but she steals the show with her eyes doing all the talking. Owais Ali shines in the climax; his scenes indeed brought in the jump scare moments.
At its core, ‘Netflix Level’ achieves what it set out to accomplish. What lingers long after the film is over is the ease with which a humongous message is given. It is highly empowering for the writers who suffer at the hands of such individuals in the industry. The more you think of the film, the more its script’s impact. As they say, size doesn’t matter, Netflix Level is power packed content in a small dose.
Spare some time and watch’ Netflix Level’ instead of Netflix. Highly Recommended!