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The Independent Critic

Directed by
J. Erik Reese
Written by
J. Erik Reese, Daniel J. Carmody
Starring
Aqua Yost, Christopher Sowers, Mark Ridley, Malcolm Ridley, Randy Harken

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 "A Short Film About Letting Go" Review 

A simple yet powerful cinematic vignette exploring the various shades of letting go through the intimate, vulnerable interactions of four individuals, A Short Film About Letting Go packs an emotional and visual wallop into a mere few minutes of run time. The actors in the film aren't so much performers as they are collaborators sharing universal truths about the seemingly simple act of "letting go," an act that can lead us down a journey towards forgiveness, healing and love.

Quite intentionally, director and co-writer J. Erik Reese and the creative team behind A Short Film About Letting Go set out to create two distinctly different camera aesthetics. These varying approaches are nicely captured by the camera work of Joshua Nitschke, one slightly jarring and appearing to be directionless while the other feels more straightforward and defined, work together to create emotionally and intellectually satisfying words and ideas, images and experiences.

Along with Nitschke's mood-setting camera work, A Short Film About Letting Go benefits greatly from the performances of its ensemble cast.

On a certain level, Aqua Yost and Christopher Sowers seem to have the greatest challenge in turning the visual and literary poetry comprising their scenes into a cohesive, appealing story arc that draws in the viewer. There is an underlying sense of "letting go" in their scene, yet Yost and Sowers both display a comfortable intimacy that makes the audience constantly wonder "What does this letting go really mean?"

In contrast to the soulful poetry of the scene between Yost and Sowers, Mark and Malcolm Ridley are given a more straightforward story to tell. Wisely and with a tremendous trust of his actors, Reese allows moments to linger between the two, portraying a father and son, as they incorporate still shots into the equation that, in a sense, cause these moments in time to stand still.

Tech credits are solid across the board, including Nitschke's camera work and the original score of Portland, Oregon musician/composer Deklun. A Short Film About Letting Go has just stated its festival run and is worth a view if it plays at an independent film festival near you.

    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
    • B: 3 Stars                         
    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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