Director: Misan Harriman
Writer: John Julius Schwabach
Stars: David Oyelowo, Jessica Plummer, Sule Rumi
Successful executive Dayo’s life is shattered after a devastating random attack in the UK’s capital city of London. Months later Dayo struggles to cope with the unbearable weight of grief following the aftermath. Now working as a driver, Dayo struggles to reconnect with himself and society as a whole.
They say first impressions are the most important and lasting, none more so than a filmmaker’s debut. The dynamic duo that is the directing and writing partnership of photographer Misan Harriman and John Julius Schwabach, have certainly made an impactful impression with their heart wrenching debut. Schwabach’s script, based on a story proposed by Harriman, tells an all too familiar tale that filled the news outlets over the years, but this one is from the point of view of those most affected by it. Media pundits, politicians, and keyboard warriors often finger point and debate issues in the wake of such, yet it’s the raw and non sensationalised victims’ stories that is often overlooked, and this is still played out today.
Harriman and Schwabach’s focus on Dayo’s downward spiral gives his story that all important human element, and one can’t help but emphatically be caught up in his sadness. The writer/director duo very quickly set up Dayo’s happy life for the viewer then shatter it in an instant so much that one almost feels the shock of the pain as events play out. The sudden intensity of the beginning gradually descends into a grief-stricken sombre reflection, and a search for light at the end of a very dark tunnel. This is the genius of Harriman and Schwabach’s tale, carried by a powerful emotive performance from its lead David Oyelowo. Whether it’s enraged grief or debilitating sadness to almost catatonic reflection Oyelowo is called on to tell Dayo’s story through a range of emotions rather than dialogue. He does this with such aplomb a lump starts to form in the throat, and grows more taut with a particularly touching moment near the end.
‘The After’ is a powerful story of the crippling impact of grief, expertly crafted by its debut writer and director, woven together with a powerful emotive central performance. Misan Harriman and John Julius Schwabach take the viewer on heart wrenching ride of sorrow in the wake of a horrific event with David Oyelowo in the driving seat. It leaves one longing for a semblance of hope but ultimately come away satisfied they’ve experienced a real human story unfold.
The After is currently available on Netflix.
The film premiered at the HollyShorts Film Festival, California, in August and won best live action short,
HollyShorts Festival is an OSCAR qualifying event, and ‘The After’ is under consideration for a nomination in the Live Action Short Film category at the 2024 Oscars
Misan Harriman is a self taught photographer and is the first black person to shoot the September cover of British Vogue.
He was appointed Chair of Trustees at the Southbank Centre in London, in 2021.
The After premiered globally on Netflic on 25th October.