Here Lies Joe is a short film with a run-time of 23 minutes. A Sweven Films production, written and directed by Mark
Here Lies JoeSuicide and Depression as friends
Here Lies Joe
Here Lies Joe is a short film with a run-time of 23 minutes. A Sweven Films production, written and directed by Mark Battle. It’s a film about the fragility of thought and the large looming ghost of depression. The film reiterates how easy it is to fall into a downward spiral of isolation and regret, and how horrifyingly normal this looks on the surface. Just as a grave is simply a calm area of earth on the surface, but a pit of death, misery and horror beneath, so is the countenance of someone who struggles with psychological insult everyday.
We couldn’t say that we necessarily enjoyed watching ‘Here Lies Joe’, but it certainly does give us some food for thought. It’s well made, with splendid direction, a steady screenplay and good performances. Whether you would like to watch the film, is purely a matter of taste though. Being introduced to suicidal thoughts in such a visceral manner might throw off a few people who wouldn’t want to associate with anything dark and gloomy at all, let alone depression. But the film is well made and may interest those who wouldn’t mind being enlightened rather than entertained.
Let’s meet the actors:
Dean Temple as Joe
Andi Marrow as Z
Timothy J Cox as Bill
Mary Hronicek as Carol
The film revolves around a man on the verge of committing suicide. He sits silently in a group therapy session for those with suicidal thoughts, wondering if he can identify with any of the seemingly ‘off’ members. He meets a girl (when do they not), who shows him how easy it all is. She seems unfazed whilst dangling off a tree in a cemetery and loves staring at morose tombstones. The impressionable mind of our protagonist, begins to see the frivolity of life in the frivolously combed hair of Z (the girl). So will he make the leap? Jump off the tree?
The interesting thing about ‘Here Lies Joe’, is that it doesn’t explain everything it sets out to put across to it’s viewers. It’s a very visceral film and leaves so much to interpretation. The film is well spaced out and spends a lot of time on character development. The story in itself is not intricate and very linear.
Our favourite perspective of the movie is where Joe and Z are anthropomorphic representations of Frivolity and Hope. Frivolity when given hope can be driven to do many things, good and bad. In a person battling depression, it is very common for both elements to co-exist, making him suicidal and strong (as two ends of the spectrum).
The direction and performances are praiseworthy. Joe is characteristically confused and helpless and Z is capricious hope personified. Timothy J Cox and Mary Hrocinek pull us out of the dream state that the movie induces with their stellar performances. The film doesn’t feel stereotypical. There are no obvious monologues about souls broken by a heartless society. It stands apart from the multitude of impressions on the subject matter.
Our only issues with the film are that it seems a little stretched without enough matter, relying a little too much on the performances. The storyline is a tad predictable and sepia tints for films on mental illness is a little old school. However, given that cinematography must convey the underlying essence of the film, we will let that one go.
Once again, it’s a well made film. Kudos to Mark Battle and all the actors for their effort. It is indeed deserving of the awards it has been nominated for and received. Whether you would like to watch it, is purely a matter of taste. If you’re the kind who needs to laugh during a movie or needs thrills in the storyline, you might want to watch a lighter film. If you are an intellectual movie-goer, this one is a good pick. The film is available on Vimeo, and will take less than half an hour of your time. We give it 3.5/5.
Here’s a link to the film: