We all have secrets...
Thus begins writer/director Darren Furniss's disturbing and emotionally jarring Damaged, a film that follows six seemingly normal and ordinary individuals. The six people live out their lives doing what normal people do. They fall in love. They fall out of love. They go to work. They don't go to work.
They simply live.
Yet, is anything ever really that simple?
Each life is haunted. I'm not talking about Blair Witch haunted, but I'm talking about genuinely haunted by their past and their choices and their actions. Each individual has a secret. Each secret, perhaps, connects each individual either physically or metaphysically or in some other universal way.
They are, I suppose you could say, damaged despite what you see as you are watching the film.
Damaged is rather close to being what might be considered an experimental film, an atmospheric film that emphasizes what is both seen and unseen, spoken and unspoken.
Damaged exists in an unusual place in cinema in that it focuses on truth without glorifying it yet also without compromising it. Furniss has crafted a film that is, at times, difficult to watch not because of its violent imagery but because of its emotional and physical honesty that asks us, perhaps, to remember that it is often the most ordinary of people who do the most out of the ordinary things in life.
The performances in Damaged are less about the actual performances and far more about the truth that is being told. Damaged feels like a confessional, a thriller, an adventure, a memoir, and a smidgen of performance art all rolled into one. It is the kind of film, I'm guessing, that you will both admire and yet not necessarily ever feel the need to watch again unless some piece of emotional resonance draws you back.
It could happen.
Furniss lenses the film with an intimate observational quality that makes you feel like you are watching something you are also part of, an experience that is rather jarring yet also unforgettable. Jessamie Kaitler's original score lulls you into an almost meditative state, a state that is never rewarded because the images and words that unfold are both profound and disturbing as each story unfolds.
Damaged will most certainly not be everyone's cup of tea but, then again, not everyone even loves tea. It's a bold and well constructed cinematic journey that challenges unapologetically with an honesty and authenticity seldom experienced yet even more seldom forgotten.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic