Review first published by EyeforFilm
A big old house at night, shown in a montage of mood-setting images. An empty kitchen, and an equally empty bedroom with a desk. An old framed monochrome photo of a man and child, and another besides them of a woman. Then a gaunt, suited fellow (Guy Henry) with a sparse beard sits gravely at the desk, and begins to pen a letter – evidently his last – in precise handwriting.
As a voiceover reads out the words of the letter – fusty reminiscences of a life of joys and sorrows, pleasures and pain, of the passing of his dear wife, of his estrangement from his beloved son – we notice that a new alarm clock on the desk is 15 minutes ahead of the old grandfather clock on the wall. For this is a place where time lags and lingers, where memories haunt, and the “love, hurt, heartbreak, embarrassment and death” that the man describes from his past still blaze and burn like the logs in the fireplace.
For his debut, writer/director Adam Stephen Kelly (also a film journalist) has crafted a suicide-note rumination on life and loss, memory and mortality – as well as on feelings unresolved and accounts unsettled. It is only to be expected that so gothic a scenario will come with a sting in its tail – but the twist here is set up with wrong-footing finesse, so that its pay-off is hard to see coming, yet still makes chillingly perfect sense.
This is a very impressive first film, and yet another Kickstarter project demonstrating with great economy that where there’s a will, there’s a way.