• Harun Mohammed in Asad

All this month we’ll be reviewing the Oscar nominees for the best animated, live-action, and documentary short films, alternating daily between categories. Check back tomorrow for the next installment.

While you might not know the name Brian Buckley, you’re probably familiar with his work. Dubbed the “30-Second Auteur” by the New York Times, Buckley has directed dozens of notable commercials, many of which have aired during the Super Bowl. Occasionally, he dabbles in the world of narrative filmmaking. Asad, his latest effort, tells the story of a young Somali boy (Harun Mohammed) whose village is run by a band of marauding pirates. The boy has aspirations to join the pirates, but an elderly fisherman deters him, encouraging him to lead a more peaceful and productive life. The film is a tender if highly conventional coming-of-age tale, pleasant in its own way but short on style and ambition.