Here Lies Joe (2016)

This is a film review on the short film ‘Here Lies Joe’. Directed by Mark Battle and produced by a US based production company called Sweven Films, even if not as well known as many others, still have their own collections of films.

‘Here Lies Joe’ is about a man, surprisingly called Joe, who joins a suicidal anonymous group. The film only lasts 23 minutes, but cleverly says so much within that short time yet explaining little. The movie begins with a flashback, but the audience is unsure whether it is a flashback until a significant moment within the story. The beginning is gripping for the audience, as in order for them to understand why this depressed man wants to kill himself they need to watch on. Therefore it becomes a film that wants to be watched from the beginning.

Here Lies Joe

Additionally, the film has a continuous aspect of wanting to commit suicide throughout the film, yeah it can get a bit depressing, but the ending and what actually happens brings hope into dark places. The feel of the film is a dark musky, slightly dull texture and tint to the screen you’re watching, this is clever as it gives the audience a witness of what the main character is feeling, seeming slightly symbolic. Another way this comes across is the use of diegetic music, there are a lot of moments in the film that are in silence, or the only noises that are heard are background noises of life; this makes it feel more realistic, less Hollywood like where music is in constant use to create a mood for the audience. Instead the audience is left to feel their own emotions and what they express by watching the film on its own, which in my experience was quite tense. There is only one significant moment in the film where non-diegetic music is used and this is where things become more hopeful. The camera is used in many different angles within this short film, this creates new angles in order to see new perspectives from, perhaps symbolic, or perhaps my film studies are reading too much into it. Overall, all these things add to a clear moral of the film, which is sort of empowering. It is definitely a film of someone struggling with something that is meant to seem realistic for the audience, and for the audience to understand how each person can help someone else.

The plot is about Joe (Dean Temple) who wants to commit suicide. Joining a suicidal anonymous group he meets some other people who are alike. It is one of these, Z (Andi Morrow), who may perhaps let him see the light of day again. The audience is left unknown to all the aspects around Joe or Z’s lives, or why they actually want to commit suicide. But there are some small symbols, like pictures or poems, that give small insights to what they are thinking. Because it is a short film, it doesn’t seem necessary to have every single moment in their background. This film isn’t like Hollywood or other massive American companies with the special effects, music and letting you know into every important aspect of the protagonists, so don’t expect it, instead it follows different rules where not all answers are found, but there is still a beginning, middle and ending that is satisfying for the audience, even if they don’t know everything for sure and just suggested some things, the mystery and tension is kept.

In conclusion, it seems to be a film that is giving a message out to the audience. It definitely has a strong moralistic view within the film. If you are a fan of the more Hollywood based films you need to go into this film open-minded, it’s not the same at all, but it still has it’s own good aspects which are different and clever in their own way.


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