Reggie Peters, Darren Constantine
Travis Hadley, D.E. Xavier
There's a stark realism that permeates every cell of Travis Hadley's involving 16-minute short film Fragile Like Concrete, which tells the story of Pete (Reggie Peters), a longtime drug addict who awakens from an apparent drugging determined to seek help from the only person left in his life, Titus (Darren Constantine), who has seemingly built himself a solid life with a decent home and relationship and a stability that Pete can't even begin to dream about.
Hadley, a Miami native who began his filmmaking career a short three years ago, is quickly making a name for himself on the indie scene with shorts like Only For You and Prophecy Eleven and with music videos for Wyseman Jenkins.
Fragile Like Concrete is a no holds barred cinematic effort, a film he scripted alongside D.E. Xavier that refuses to compromise or take the easy way out in telling a story that is jarring, disturbing, and just plain harrowing from beginning to end. While Fragile Like Concrete occasionally dances on that line toward melodrama, such a dance is inevitable and not that far removed from the actual life of addiction and the ways in which it destroys lives.
Fragile Like Concrete feels incredibly real, though much of that credit goes to the leading duo of Reggie Peters as Pete and Darren Constantine as Titus. The two are riveting together, their friendship feeling genuine as does the chasm that now divides them. Peters avoids caricature in telling the story of Pete, instead embodying the young man as a guy who has simply gone so far down the spiral nobody's really sure if he has any hope at all of making his way back up.
Much to the credit of Hadley, Fragile Like Concrete doesn't paint any easy answers and doesn't promise any greeting card resolutions.
Lensing by Stephanie Pons is stark, intimate and unnerving, while the film's frenzied pace grabs you and doesn't let you go until the closing credits are rolling.
Fragile Like Concrete is currently on the indie fest circuit and one easily expects it to have no problem finding a home on the indie/low-budget fest circuit where Hadley's ability to tell a gripping story in an honest way will be full-on embraced.
For more information on Fragile Like Concrete, visit the film's official website linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic