It’s 10:51 pm
Looking outside in dark,we are getting another round of thunderstorms hitting our area.
With that in mind,what better time to review a new short film that was sent in to us by Tim Cox. Tim sent in a slew of films which Paladin and I will be watching and reviewing.
You may noticed that I have changed the title to the review series. We did this so our entries will be accepted by IMDb which frowns on any sites/titles with the word “review” in them. Hence the name change.
Here Lies Joe is a quirky short film that you’ll either love or love to hate. There really isn’t a middle ground here and the subject,suicide,pretty much ensures that.
The film opens up with the title character,Joe,prepping his car for his suicide. He is choosing to die by carbon monoxide.
Then we go backwards to see what brought Joe to this point. Joe is attending a Suicide Anonymous meeting which is being attended by a few people including a young woman named Z who mocks the others while reading her suicide poem.
Joe and Z are attracted to each other he agrees to give her a ride. After showing empathy to another member,Joe and Z take off.
Z mocks Joe’s car and addresses him only as “New Guy”. She then goes through his personal stuff and we discover Joe is a teacher. We get the idea that it was a relationship that went sour.
Z then directs Joe to go into a graveyard,he tells her he doesn’t have much gas. Z then shares the history of some of the people buried there,Z has come here quite often. She is attracted to death but not enough to take the last step.
She has him park and while talking about a statue,she asks Joe to play hide and seek.
After he says “No”,Z takes his car keys and makes him follow her.
She climbs a tree and despite Joe not liking heights,forces him to climb a little bit to get the keys,he knows he has been pushed out of his comfort zone and he likes it.
Z then exchanges phone numbers with Joe so they can commit their suicides together.
Then we are back to the start of the film with Joe getting ready to die and so is Z. She is going to slash her wrists in her bathtub…he call her while his car is running….a soft folk song is playing in the background….
Directed by Mark Battle who also co-wrote the story with Pamela Conway,I think this film works on a lot of levels. Its filmed and edited beautifully by Battle as well. I liked the performance of Dean Temple who played Joe.
His Joe is a great case of someone who thinks he wants to die when in fact he really doesn’t. His compassion towards another depressed member of the group plus his ability to acknowledge Z’s writing as gifted shows his heart is still working but deeply wounded.
We are left guessing on exactly what drove Joe to this point but as I wrote earlier,it looks like a relationship that went bad. Temple is a real talented actor whose other work I’ll be keeping a eye out for!
I hated Andi Morrow’s performance as Z. She comes across as a immature sociopath. She is so unlikable that you really don’t care if she lives or dies. Her antics and rudeness towards others completely take away emotions that Battle and Conway want the viewer to have,you’re not rooting for the couple but only for Joe.
I think adding in just a small layer of humanity to Z’s character could have went a long way into making this a memorable film for the right reasons. Instead her ugliness just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
The small supporting cast,Timothy J. Cox and Mary Hronicek, do a nice job as the group leader and the woman that Joe shows kindness too.
While the cheetah and I both disliked the Morrow’s performance,it wasn’t enough to stop us from really digging Dean Temple’s Joe and this movie. We both give “Here Lies Joe” a paw/thumbs up.
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