David: Today, we’re talking about an independent short film called Here Lies Joe, which was sent in by Timothy Cox. It is directed and written by Mark Battle. It stars Dean Temple, Andi Morrow, and Timothy Cox. Here’s a link to the IMDB page.
The movie deals with a fairly heavy subject - suicide. We start off by seeing Joe (Dean Temple) prepare for his own suicide and are quickly transported back to earlier in the day, when he is attending a suicide prevention meeting led by Bill (Timothy Cox). It’s there that he meets Z (Andi Morrow), who is different and full of life despite being at the meeting.
Shannon, what were your initial thoughts about Here Lies Joe?
Shannon: I would say that my initial thoughts were that the acting was great. I enjoyed Z as a character, as you said she was full of life despite the fact that she wants to take her own life. For some reason I especially liked the scene in the graveyard. She had a bunch of stories for the people laying in the ground even though I’m sure she had no idea who they actually were. I felt like she brought Joe slightly out of his slump, at least until we are shown him in the car.
As for Dean Temple, I thought his acting as great as well. He was able to carry the depressed emotion with him all the way to the end, even with Z and her flamboyant attitudes the whole time. What did you think about the acting, David?
David: I loved the performances by the actors. They were terrific. At no point do you question that Joe was severely depressed. It’s evident that he is getting over what is most likely either his wife leaving him, or his wife passing away. He is sweaty, pale, and just terribly, terribly morose. It is a performance that I almost wish I could see more of, if it wasn’t so depressing.
I thought that Andi Morrow was terrific too. Her initial entry into the circle gave me pause, because I was a bit worried that I was gonna see a performance that was overly flashy. At times, it heads that direction, but I think the dialogue sways it back. The scene in the graveyard is terrific, but I think for sheer emotionality you can’t beat the phone call. To have both characters on their way to death, each while talking to each other, only to be interrupted each time by events that keep it from being a “perfect” suicide.
I also think that the relationship between the two also was developed very well. I often think that larger films miss out on the small moments that truly develop a relationship - a smile here, a comment about pancakes there. Battle’s writing throughout carried the film from being above average to being emotionally packed and heavy, and nothing short of great.
Did you like the dialogue and the relationship development?
Shannon: From the short time we get to watch them, I’d say the relationship development was good. Starting off with a funny face made at the new guy and her pretty much forcing him to give her a ride. I see what you mean about the phone call, I think that was great as well. As for the dialogue, I think it was good. There wasn’t much between them, but when there was it was effective. Even when they were on the phone call, she turned on her music and they pretty much just sat in silence while plotting their suicides. The emotions of it were perfect for the purpose of this short film.
David, was there another topic you wanted to touch on for Here Lies Joe?
David: Just one more thing of note that I would like to touch on. The fact that Here Lies Joe is frequently funny is interesting, since it deals with such a sober subject. One of the reasons I really enjoyed it was the fact that it felt like it wasn’t trying to make light of these people’s situations, as you often see when suicide is presented on television or the movies. Instead, it allowed us to see that there is a way out for people that suffer with depression. Though life may get hard, it can get better.
If anyone reading this has any suicidal thoughts, please drop us a line, or call your nearest suicide hotline. It’s never too late to get help.
For all the things that Here Lies Joe does well, I think it’s an excellent short, and I will rate it as such with an “A”. What would you like to rate it Shannon?
Shannon: I would have to agree with you, David. It was frequently funny which is different for this type of subject. It’s nice. And I think that’s the point of this film, in my opinion anyway. No matter how hard it can be, there’s someone out there that can most likely make it better or there’s always a reason to not go through with it. Just have to not give up. I’m going to give Here Lies Joe a “Liked It” rating. Thanks for the suggestion Timothy! Can’t wait to watch and review the others you’ve sent in.
David and Shannon write about movies.