Deneen Melody, Michael Partipilo, Nikki Watson, Austin Dossey, Taylor Metzger, Zoe Miller, Leander Miller
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That's how long it takes for Deneen Melody, a magnificently talented and up-and-coming actress, to absolutely draw you into the hypnotic and compelling story of Lo, a young woman on the verge of suicide in Jeremiah Kipp's simply outstanding new short film Crestfallen.
Truthfully, it's difficult to come up with superlatives that feel adequate enough to describe this mesmerizing and unforgettable film that accomplishes more in just over six-minutes than many full-length features. Crestfallen is a silent film, not in the sense of The Artist exactly, but in the sense that writer Russ Penning and director Jeremiah Kipp have forsaken spoken dialogue in favor of the power of sound, imagery, shadow and one of the best original scores I've ever experienced in a short film from Harry Manfredini (The Friday the 13th films).
Manfredini's score is gripping and soaring and wrought with emotion hard-earned and it perfectly companions the devastatingly powerful journey of Lo that is captured so magnificently by Melody. The film is also aided greatly by Dominick Sivilli's masterful cinematography, which somehow manages to weave together images of stunning innocence and sweeping sincerity and unfathomable tragedy all within seconds of one another.
As masterful as is Manfredini's score and Sivilli's camera work, the simple truth is the film simply wouldn't be the same without the transcendent beyond words performance of Deneen Melody. Melody elicits sympathy and warmth and heartbreak and just about everything a human being can feel within the scope of her six-minutes of screen time. Melody's performance is, quite simply, one of raw power and grace and tenderness and honesty. Within the film's mere six-minute running time, I found myself in tears watching the journey of Lo unfold in the images that surrounded her and in the unforgettable facial expressions and body language of Melody.
While Crestfallen unquestionably centers around the character of Lo, those around her leaving a lasting impression as well. This is especially true for the brief yet memorable performance of young Taylor Metzger, whose ever so brief turn as Lo's daughter is riveting in its innocence.
Crestfallen is particularly effective, as well, in how it honestly portrays the unfolding psychological journey of the suicidal mind as the positive and negative memories and influences all snowball within the desperate mind.
For more information on Crestfallen, visit the film's Facebook page listed in the credits and be sure to check it out above this review.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic