We'll start this review in a slightly different manner. Seeing as though it's only five minutes long, you can watch the film first before reading the review.
This short was shot in one day with a budget of only 300 Euros. But I'm not going to take that into account in the rating, it's got to stand on its own merits. Compared to a similarly low budget feature such as Atrocious, its central idea came as a bit of shock and provoked more of an emotional response than the whole of the longer film.
Initially, I wasn't sure where The Puzzle was going. The story, concerning a mother who won't give her son any money despite constant pressure, could have done with a touch more screen time to develop the relationship between the two characters. But despite her problems, she partakes in a spot of jigsawing to relax. (Doccortex would love this. He loves jigsaws. If anyone wants to get him a present, a jigsaw is your best bet.)
The ending startled me the first time I watched it. I even felt a tiny shiver-ette down my spine. When I thought about it afterwards it didn't make too much sense. Wouldn't she have been able to work out what the image was before placing the final piece? Maybe her mental state was such that she couldn't focus on what she was doing and was operating on auto pilot. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt just because it was so effective.
The acting quality is not the greatest but this is possibly due to the budget. Again, this could be an issue of financing, but I would have liked the final shooting to be harsher and more graphic (that could just be me being a gore-hound). It may have added extra power to the shock that came before it. But on the whole, I enjoyed this and the final image on the jigsaw has stuck in my head (which is more than can be said for any of the shots in Atrocious). The rating is based on a comparison with other short films, just to be fair. I said I wouldn't take the 300 Euro budget into account, and I haven't, but it is certainly an impressive short for less than the price of an iphone.