Short Film Review “Chosen”



First, the Recap:

Seeking to escape. Life offers more than its fair share of challenges, and when the pressures build to such a peak that it feels there’s simply no way out, drastic measures are sadly attempted. Yet, in the scope of one such bid to leave this world, what if you ended up finding a shocking new purpose? For heroin addict John Crisdell (Arash Mokhtar), this becomes a startling and highly unnerving reality as he wakes up in a pure white hospital room, confused and unsure why he is even alive after an intentional overdose.

Finding the only other presence in the room is Dr. Zizi Benedek (Cathy Moriarty), John immediately begins to bombard her with questions, still in his wary and panicked state, more so after she reveals where exactly he is and for what revelatory reason–he has been sought out as being a descendent of Jesus Christ. Massively struggling to accept this premise alone, much less the obligations being hinted at for him by Dr. Benedek, it becomes a battle of will vs. belief vs. obligation vs. acknowledgement of his need for help that ensues.

Next, my Mind:

Taking a truly fantastical but grounded, makes-you-think approach, director/co-producer Debra Markowitz and writer/co-producer Shari Umansky‘s 14-minute short film effort propels the viewer into a serious, more real world version of “Bruce Almighty”, presenting a narrative focused on themes of being confronted with the Divine, offered a chance to step into it, take the responsibilities for it, and know you’re entrusted by God to do it based on your past or, in this case, literal lineage. To have to choose to encompass such a weighty life, especially in view of your own evident shortcomings, is daunting enough much less having to even grasp the notion you would be remotely ready to take on such power and what to do with it. The film addresses this conundrum with dramatic integrity throughout, even as the camera embraces both characters here with intent as they each try to convince the other why they see things from their respective points of view. It’s again doubt vs. faith, our perceived ideas about perfection and our limited ability vs. His wisdom to see our potential.

Mokhtar does a solid job here in his role as John, a man pushed to the edge of his own existence to the extent of making an effort to end it, only to not only find himself still alive, but in a decidedly different place, physically and otherwise, than he recalled, only to also be advised of the who, what, when, where, and why’s of it all, finalized with the subsequent disbelief and complete rejection of it. Listening to John’s harried rationalizations and seeing his agitated state almost break him is realistic and relatable given the circumstances, with Mokhtar navigating it all deftly. Veteran actress Moriarty is a real treat to have here in the role of John’s caretaker, Dr. Benedek, as she just simply brings a level of viable, no-nonsense gravitas to the proceedings, playing the character as not just John’s attendant, but the vessel to lead him to his new duties and purpose in life, all of which she is deeply invested in seeing happen to degrees beyond just the surface. The firm but calm manner in which she consistently tries to get John to take it all on lends apropos tension to events, and Moriarty delivers with poise.

In total, “Chosen” is one of those efforts that has a heavy impact in a very short amount of runtime, which is another aspect of well-conceived short film that this reviewer personally loves, as it reflects the ability of a filmmaker to make valid points and its narrative’s morals concisely but with no loss of both entertainment value or quality. Here, we can take from it a chance to look at our own faith, perhaps analyze the depth of true commitment we have in it, make strides to be more responsible in acting upon it, and perhaps really see that it so often isn’t our own means or what we think we are capable of that will get everything accomplished, but rather allowing a higher hand to guide and lead us instead.

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



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