Have you ever had that feeling, when getting on a bus, that the bus would drive you so far away that you could leave your old life behind and start anew? Paul Murphy (youtube channel here), the writer and director of Stop, certainly has.
Set on a gloomy, rainy day, Stop (facebook page here) follows the chance encounter between Karen, a woman who has had enough, and Nikki, a teenager with a dark past. The whole film takes place at a bus stop as Karen and Nikki interact.
Domestic abuse is one of the most important yet also one of the most taboo issues present today. One has to admire the brutal honest that Murphy uses to address the subject. “He can be the kindest, gentlest man in the world” Karen says about her abusive partner who she was trying to run away from, laying the blame for his violence on herself, saying “I push him, I provoke him”, and that he apologizes afterwards. But, as Niki so rightly assures her, everything that ever comes out of an abuser’s mouth is “fucking shit”.
And despite the fact that Karen is attempting to run away, we find that she her struggling to leave her husband because “he needs her”. She is trapped in a life that she does not want and worst of all most people are oblivious to her plight, commenting on what a great couple she and her husband make.
Nikki, who has already left behind her history of domestic violence, offers words of wisdom to Karen, and we are left on an ambiguous yet powerful note.
Brilliantly shot and acted, Stop is one of the most relevant shorts I have recently seen. Bold and unflinching in its description of domestic violence and the problems that it causes, many viewers who were previously ignorant of the matter will have their eyes opened by Stop.
Stop was Winner of Special Mention Award at Film London Best of Borough Awards 2012.