WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
There are roads we travel in life which can take us to places both lowly and sublime, molding us into the individuals we grow to become. Such can also be said for the upbringings, the traditions, the pasts we herald from, shaping our experiences and positions in this world. Varying as these may be, sometimes two contrasting lives converge and create unexpected bonds. Emma (Mela Hudson) finds herself in a constant state of uncertainty and volatility, making decisions and taking actions to survive that most would find truly desperate and free of any real thought of consequence. Judy (Tori Hall) has her affairs in order, leading a good existence with the assuredness of present plans and a happy future.
With mutual circumstances aligning, via each having to travel to western Massachusetts, the two link up via a ride share ad placed by Emma and embark on a road trip together that almost immediately begins to expose the dissimilarities between their life paths. Through initial tensions about various notions and life views but shared enjoyment of just getting to know one another, they ultimately bond. But, painful trials are on the horizon as each reach their respective destinations, Judy to her partner Helen’s (Lauren Kirby) residence and Emma to her estranged mother Brenda’s (Jane Harte) shabby hotel room. Reeling from these events and reflecting on critical decisions, their intersecting paths and new friendship comes to bear.
Next, my Mind:
Formidable in its message, convincing in its execution, and deeply human in its raw portrayal of both the strength and frailty of relationships and their impact on our state of being, writer/director/producer/cinematographer/editor Jeffrey Palmer’s 24-minute short film certainly makes a statement. Crisply shot to give an appropriate visual look to accompany the intended mood and tones of the narrative, the dialogue and overall presence of the two leads keeps the viewer interested, navigating both character’s lives and emotions successfully while still leaving a sense of mystery as to how the coming together of these two opposite souls will play out. Additionally, the alternative-style music soundtrack very much compliments the proceedings as well, giving a vibrancy to offset what are some seriously heart-rending and poignant moments.
Hudson and Hall very much embody the characters in this effort, each infusing their roles with a realistic sense of who they are, where they come from, and the concepts of life they’ve chosen to adapt. Once they are together on the road, the dynamics in conversation and interaction between the two is such a natural blend of awkwardness, understanding, reservation, and undisguised “set in their ways” beliefs, it feels like watching actual “candid camera” discussions and reactions to the convictions set forth. It’s a dual effort here, and the two actresses make the most of it, especially when witnessing their responses to the complications they each encounter. Kirby and Harte add the necessary antagonistic punches to the two lead’s stories with great effect in their brief screen time and one unseen effort from Rebecca Palmer places an extra exclamation point on Hall’s character’s journey.
In total, “Split Costs” is, as I do often say about films of worth, another shining example of the much more grounded nature of stories found within independent cinema. It is a passionate, unrestrained, uninhibited yet accessible tale which truly encompasses real life in so many ways, and perhaps even makes us look at ourselves, ideas, and understanding of life around us just a little bit differently and, ideally, for the better.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!