WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
It is the end. It’s over. Done. No more sense of worth. No more hope to grasp onto. There is no alternative to the choice that is about to be decided on. When life has taken so many unexpected wrong turns that the only way out seems crystal, and brutally, clear. Upon arriving at that state of being, it truly does seem like the definitive path to tread–leave this world behind. For a beleaguered, ragged-looking Joe (Dean Temple), it seems to be the only option available. Yet even in the moment, he thinks back on the circumstances that lead him to this point, even when the physical belongings of what seem like a previous existence fill the back seat.
There was the first group session, lead by well-meaning leader Bill (Timothy J. Cox), along with the other attendees, including the very emotionally compromised Carol (Mary Hronicek), a manic Terry (J.P. Valenti), plus the unforeseen and abrupt entrance of Z (Andi Morrow), who wastes no time in being more than a little profanely disruptive. Yet, Joe takes to her, seeing something that perhaps no one else can–a kindred spirit. Gaining his notice further in asking for a ride home, Z draws him into an afternoon of strangely therapeutic playfulness and unpredictable directions, initially to Joe’s annoyance, but then acceptance. Their conversations infused with the thoughts of the struggle they both face and the action to accompany it, can an unanticipated bond change life’s course?
Next, my Mind:
Given the subject matter this 23 minute project brings to the table, and it is one addressed many a time, it would have still been easy for writer/director Mark Battle to let is sink into a morose fable without necessarily bringing the viewer a sense of relief from its character’s plight and inevitable conclusion. However, thankfully, Battle chooses to deliver a narrative that is both gut-wrenching yet soulfully human, a very sobering expounding on hopelessness and mortality, but then triumphant in its vision of what connection in circumstance and context can achieve. Also to its credit, the story manages to find humor within the dark, which only makes the investment in the film that much more worthwhile and engaging, thanks again to Battle.
Temple’s Joe is a prime example of subtlety and understatement, delivering a man who might be at the end of his rope, and intent on doing something about it, yet it’s so nuanced that your heart is going to bleed for him immediately. Such a state of being worn out and tired of the fight is not an easy place to dwell, and Temple brings this out believably. Likewise, Morrow’s Z is the rebellious to the end persona, defiant to the last, yet beyond that extremely hurt and achingly vulnerable, and Morrow takes this and just emotes with passion and believability. Bring the two together, and it’s a match made for being both emotionally compromised and entertained by.
Smooth camerawork and simple settings set the action and atmosphere perfectly, and what we have here in total is a deeply profound character study within the configuration of a dark subject matter that ultimately finds a way to shine with what is truly needed in these situations–hope.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!