Short Film Review “By Blood”



First, the Recap:

The beauty of an idyllic, perfectly laid out life. It’s the vision we all have as we grow up. The desire to get married, have a family, grow old together–it’s the combination of factors so many actually achieve. Sometimes, however, the ideal picture isn’t what it looks like nor lead to lifelong bliss. In the wake of the sudden loss of his wife Patricia (Diana Durango), Vincent (Russ Camarda) seeks the solace of friends post-funeral, as well as the consolation of his brother Jimmy (Joseph A. Halsey), especially since having family to grieve with and find support from seems paramount.

However, after the guests leave and the two siblings finally have time to take a drink and start to reminisce about Patricia, the leanings of the conversation start to take an unsettled turn. Even as Jimmy offers to help his brother with anything he needs, Vincent divulges information about his marriage to Patricia along with presenting a single matchbook from a recognizable hotel that he discovered in her purse. Perplexed as to what implications Vincent is getting at, Jimmy soon finds himself at a loss for words as his bother paints a picture of deceit, affairs, and a lost chance at parenthood, all of which guides their now heated talk to a fateful decision.

Next, my Mind:

Executed with a taut, slowly building tension that brings about a pull-no-punches confrontation and gut-punch finale, writer/director/co-producer Debra Markowitz’s 12-minute short drama certainly makes its point decidedly clear, thematically exploring the notions of poor choices, the ramifications of them, and the damaging potency some secrets carry, all done in the name of love. As with her other film efforts, the settings are simple, the camerawork accommodates the focus on the characters involved, while the narrative itself centers everything, taking the viewer from a heartfelt sense of mourning and loss to a pressure cooker atmosphere that peaks at boiling point before bubbling over in a jarring finale.

Camarda and Halsey are a tag team acting duo here and they both perform admirably as brothers Vincent and Jimmy, loyal to each other to a fault at first impression until the sudden passing of Vincent’s wife brings out revelations and more than drastically affects their opinion of each other.  More so, Vincent’s earnestness in trying to grasp the loss of his true love is only eclipsed by the resentment he finds himself now having to deal with towards Jimmy, attempting to comprehend the past actions being undertaken by his own blood, and Camarda effectively portrays this. Likewise, Jimmy is an individual you both want to pity but also find yourself despising after learning about his involvement with events and how they unfolded, even though it was in itself never his intention to cause harm to anyone, including his brother. Halsey brings out the character’s inner turmoil here with realistic purpose and believability.

Supporting appearances are made by Jackie Martling, Regina Hardy, Steve Fleming, Noelle Yatauro, and Donna Sirianni as friends and relatives of the brothers. In total, “By Blood” proves itself a worthy character drama about human frailty and the circumstances that we sometimes wish had never happened when it becomes too late for reconciliation or regrets.

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



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