Something Left, Something Taken
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An adorably informative short film, “Something Left, Something Taken” is the animated film for fans of “CSI” but is middle-school appropriate and could very well be shown as one of the more entertaining class videos that will educate and entertain.
“Taken” is the story of Max and Ru, a couple visiting friends in San Francisco. They’re forensics buffs, fans of those cop-show procedurals. When, instead of their friend picking them up at the airport, they get a mystery man who claims to be a friend, Max and Ru think something is up.
When the man takes them on a tour of the spot of some of the famous Zodiac murders, Max and Ru suspect they’re about to become, years after his last murder, the Zodiac’s latest victims.
So they proceed to try and help the man get caught by both leaving and taking things, helping to ensure this man is caught and punished for their murder.
It’s a fun and interesting tutorial both on how forensics experts work on the “something left, something taken” paradigm; murder victims take things from the scene of their death — threads, pieces of fuzz, perhaps a valuable bit of DNA from their attackers — and leave things — their own DNA, scraps of clothing, hair or skin — so that police can connect the dots that lead to capturing the killer.
The animation is perfectly simplistic, with the characters looking something like a paper-doll representation of a sock puppet. It’s simple and perfect for a short film not going for technological bells and whistles.
The writing is zippy and irreverent with just a hint of sadness (since, you know, our main characters are planning their own murder in a sense), but it’s a fun, brisk little ride that’s the most fun educationally outside of health class.