I seem to have a love/hate relationship with silent brickfilms.
Similar to the silent pictures era of cinema, they often find strengths in storytelling through visuals alone. Dialogue-less stories can be watched and enjoyed by someone no matter where in the world they live. Also, telling a story without dialogue is a great exercise into the finer details one can master when it comes to animating little personalities into the characters. Silent brickfilms can easily overcome this creative limitation, often becoming some of my favorites to watch again and again...
Other times, silent brickfilms can feel cheep. Along with a lack of quality animation and story direction, silence can often hurt rather than help - overshadowing any subtleties that silent film brings. Silent brickfilms can be really hit or miss, and more often than not, I tend to skip them... Especially when something as simple as adding a few words could simplify plot and overall increase the quality of said brickfilm.
Monday, thankfully, is the former.
While the camera quality isn't the best (no real prob, though, as I watch "classic" brickfilms all the time - usually ones filmed on cheap mid-2000's web cams), and the animation takes about six minutes to finally find a groove, the overall quality of the brickfilm is excellent. The story, while a bit dark in some places, does tell a concise and cohesive story - a rare feat for a story with a flashback.
The ending, along with many moments within the brickfilm, almost pop out of nowhere - yet never seem out of place. Also, maybe it's just me but I felt that many moments throughout referenced other media & brickfilms. The entire first few minutes seemed to take a few liberties from a scene from The Matrix, while other moments reminded me of Driven, The Profession, and even If Rooftops Could Talk!
My biggest recommendation would be to work on cinematography. Using a 4:3 aspect ratio isn't impossible (the opposite, actually) however, one must know how to shoot for it. Many shots (mostly towards the beginning, but a few continue throughout) are framed with too much head room. Like the shots leading up to 19 seconds in... Zooming in, reframing, or cropping would have definitely helped better introduce the character into the world. As is, my eyes were drawn moreso upwards, to the blank space. I had to keep forcing them down to see the actual action taking place.
I know I said the animation was so-so in parts, but the bullet hole effects were really cool to see. I might just have to try out something similar in an upcoming brickfilm!
As a final note, I'd like to add that I thought the music was phenomenal. Not only did it fit with the underlying tone of each scene, but often times it mimicked the actions. Overall, the music (and sound effects, as well) really lent to filling in any holes that the lack of dialogue left. The film was easy to understand, fun to experience, and an enjoyment to think over.
Five stars from me. I'd love to see more of your films, FilmTrooper!