Short Film Review “Again”

  

WATCH AN EXCERPT HERE

First, the Recap:

Reminiscence. A shadow in your mind’s eye. A fleeting moment of that which has been experienced before yet escapes from your grasp as quickly as it came. How does one dwell on that which seems so elusive, finding solace in a routine that simply keeps recycling itself? Is it possible to no longer recognize and remember what’s real? The T.V.’s glow has captured the attention of one Man (Morrison Keddie) as he takes in the comedic content of a favorite film, “Groundhog Day”.

Having viewed the film a multitude of times, his attention to its nuances and specific key moments continues to resonate within the glassy-eyed scrutiny he constantly relinquishes to it, even repeating certain lines over and over as they come about. In the midst of this increasingly perplexing circumstance, there is a Woman (Aubrey Dollar) who comes to him with lunch, favorite foods which he lauds over each instance its received. In this enigmatic state, can the memory of the heart overcome a troubled actuality?

Next, my Mind:

With an absolutely ingrained sense of wonder, both fantastical and strangely unsettling, paired with a deeply potent, emotional, and transfixing bearing at its core, director Alexis Jacknow and writer Bekah Brunstetter’s 10-minute indie short film effort totally fires on all cylinders, delivering an achingly poignant yet strongly inspired narrative that envelops the viewer in the simple yet surreal world being encountered by one man’s hazy, restless state of being. Just witnessing the almost childlike demeanor he demonstrates while watching and quoting his favorite film would seem to illustrate his means of escape from reality while actually being what drives it, even as split second moments where he loses awareness of events around him adds further mystique. The inclusion of his benefactor, a woman who steadfastly brings his meal like clockwork, and her interactions with him further amplifies the unfolding puzzle to very effective and weighty degrees.

Keddie’s role as the Man here is truly amazing in that it’s a shining example of how uncomplicated execution can actually carry within it some of the most dramatically powerful themes and messages, conveyed with an acutely intelligent delivery that will have you engrossed from the start. The character’s constantly fluctuating mindset and perception of his immediate surroundings is both painful and tender at the same time, as there’s an inner struggle we know goes beyond what we see on the surface, yet doesn’t necessarily get rectified, and therefore adding an air of uncertainty about him, so well enacted here by Keddie. You desire to know his full story, yet being left attempting to ascertain much of it is what helps make this such a fantastic performance, understated yet overtly impactful.

On the same level, Dollar’s portrayal of the Woman is also filled with the same straightforward delivery, presenting her as someone whom we might assume is one thing initially, then suddenly aren’t totally sure what exact part the character is playing in the proceedings, her relationship to the Man, and why she so doggedly continues to put up with the consistent breaks from the now he faces her with. There’s a patience, an understanding, a fuller reasoning behind her actions, and like him, it’s something the viewer may or may not get to discover over the course of the short runtime here. But, it is this dynamic that keeps the whole process interesting while allowing us to make guesses about what’s what, and also like Keddie, Dollar just nails this part so very effectively and with quiet grace.

In total, with its mesmerizing simplicity, depth of pathos-fueled thematic elements, and strongly captivating performances, “Again” very much showcases the ongoing magic found in the independent filmmaking world, not needing complexity to drive home marvelously touching portraits that showcase matters of the heart with affecting soul.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

 

 

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