Short Film Review “To Be Alone”



First, the Recap:

What exactly is it that drives us to do the things we do? When we believe it’s all been figured out as to who we are, what we believe, and what actions we are and are not capable of, does it still not strike us odd that sometimes, we end up in a place we’d never anticipate, doing things we’d never conceive? Another day, and there lies the unsettled quietness of a seemingly empty home for one grieving man named William (Timothy J. Cox) as he unenergetically wanders from room to room, pausing to eat in the kitchen as the bluster of an overzealous preacher emanates from the TV.

Yet, as William takes in the words about God and what it means to be without Him, what needs to be done to correct his wayward life and redeem his soul, the effect it actually has begins to weigh on him.  Soon, William is making attempts to explore his own belief and ideologies even as a dark secret is revealed that he soon realizes needs to be absolved within his own mind as well as hidden away from the calmly prying, but incessant inquires of the local sheriff (John Mahler). Even as William begins his efforts to somehow reconcile the inner turbulence he’s experiencing, it culminates into deeply affecting moments that could define the rest of his life.

Next, my Mind:

It’s the study of human need for mollification in times of mourning and/or sorrow, the effects it has on one’s psyche, and the further ramifications experienced within the mind, heart, and soul when secrets are lurking amidst it all that drives writer/director/co-producer Matthew Mahler’s newest 12-minute short film effort. Put forth with an intentionally downplayed execution so as to actually emphasize even more the slowly boiling, internal mental and spiritual battle William finds himself encountering, it’s the apex that is reached by the film’s second act when other factors have been introduced that truly pull everything together into a rather jarring revelation that carries with it a whole new set of possible outcomes for the character. The straightforward cinematography embraces each moment well here, and visuals which potentially symbolize all that is being presented thematically within the story are well utilized to round concepts out.

Need it be said again (well, ok, it will be!), Cox continues to show his prowess as a go-to character actor in his role as William, a man completely lost in a state of absolute grief and more than evidently struggling to find meaning in it all, given his reactions to hearing about faith. Even as he chooses to try and embrace faith as an outlet of solace for his pain, it only seems to further frustrate him, or perhaps shine a convicting light upon his own shortcomings and precariously hidden secrets. The further into himself he seems to then delve, the more strife and confusion he gets confronted with until the point comes when both his search for faith and his disconcerted mind come crashing together in a release of high emotion that may be both healing and incriminating. It’s all so blatant in nature, yet also so overtly contained within the William’s demeanor and subdued attitude through most of the film, and Cox just masters the navigation of it beautifully.

Small supporting parts are turned in by John Mahler as the local town sheriff whose constant messages on William’s voicemail and then subsequent visit of concern to his home adds a very dynamic element into events. An additional appearance is made by Maggie Kurth that is key to the story as well. In total, “To Be Alone” takes a very powerful look at the personal toll loss has on the conscious mind but then throws in an astute twist that changes the image of the entire picture being painted and causes the viewer to second guess what exactly has taken place. However you choose to interpret it, this is a solid example of indie film and the deftness of its makers.

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


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