Ruben Leaves has so many strengths to it. The transitions work well to communicate with the audience: Ruben’s hair smoothly turns into a scene of disaster as we see what he imagines. The series of cuts following the scene where Ruben enters Dave’s office and sees a deer (from 3:10–3:13) compiles all of Ruben’s anxieties into a short amount of time, overwhelming both the audience and Ruben.
The sound design is a huge strength to the film. Dave’s character, especially, is signified with a grating phone alarm that gradually becomes more and more annoying and anxiety-inducing. In the morning, with Ruben waking up and silencing his phone, the audience feels the same dread Ruben does at the sound of his ringtone. Later, as Ruben walks to Dave’s office, his text ringtone goes off progressively faster and faster, which emphasizes the building anxiety Ruben feels about his meeting with Dave.
I really enjoyed watching Ruben Leaves! It’s one of the most interesting shorts I’ve seen.