“Destroyer“, a 2013 short film by Kevan Funk, is an examination of the contradictions of fraternity when its values of mutual support are misplaced, and instead used to oppress or pressure silence from those whose individual beliefs are at odds with the covert acceptance of transgressive actions, which threaten to deface an otherwise innocuous reputation.
Tyson, an athlete in a hockey team, has witnessed a damning act at a party hosted by one of his teammates. Told in a cross-cutting style that flits between the progressive events which led to the wrongdoing and the consequent psychological turmoil that embroils the young man, Funk uses this device both to unravel the specific nature of the deed, and also to visually draw out the mental images that haunt Tyson’s mind.
Through a choice of close-ups and composition that angles Tyson away from the camera, the audience is given an illustration of his solitary objection to the events which unfold, and his isolation in its wake to find means to express his anger, frustration and disillusionment. His moral center defies the pernicious ethics of his greater social and professional circle, which eventually corrodes his faith in the community to which he belongs.
Culminating in a sit-down with the coach of the team to discuss the events which had unfolded, the film demonstrates the destructive culture which allows for the perpetuation of such felonious actions, that downplays the severity of such crimes and suggests implicitly their inexorability, in the upbringing of young people. Ending with a twinned set of shots that hints at a possible departure, or reluctant assent, Funk perhaps comments on a need for personal change, in the face of institutional apathy, that may be the only true remedial step towards a better, more scrupulous society.