I have no idea if director Dave Harlequin knew anything about me before submitting his latest short film Three Quarters to The Independent Critic. Did he check out my website's diversity statement (a statement similar to the one on the website for A Stranger Concept Films, the production company behind this film)?
Did he check out my social media pages? Does he know my history?
I have no idea. Maybe it doesn't even matter.
However, there's really no denying that as a paraplegic/double amputee myself that I resonated deeply with the story and messages inside Three Quarters. Written by and starring Adam York, Three Quarters tells the story of Jack, a construction worker struggling to adapt to life after a recent limb amputation caused by a drunk driving accident. As his struggle intensifies, Jack is increasingly shadowed by a dark, black robed figure whose voice is one of constant harassment and taunting even as Jack tries to return to something resembling normalcy in his daily life.
Three quarters is a realistic film. It's at times exhilarating and at times heartbreaking, a film that captures the inherent vulnerability of disability and the authenticity of just how difficult it is to adjust when you've been independent your entire life. Adam York is wonderful here precisely because he's not so much riveting as he is just plain honest. A key confrontational scene feels guttural in its impact as Jack confronts truths about his past and about his present. It's one of several rich and honest scenes throughout the 23-minute film that has been going gangbusters on the indie fest circuit with a slew of well-deserved prizes and a wealth of recognition for the beautifully constructed film.
This is a passion project and that's apparent from beginning to end, though it's definitely not the first collaboration between Harlequin and York. Kudos to both for stepping into authentic casting for the film - at the time of filming, York had become an amputee due to bone cancer and in researching for this review I learned that he had passed away only weeks after the film was completed.
Truly. Kudos to everyone involved for keeping this voice alive and bringing this film to fruition.
While there's never any doubt that Three Quarters is an ultra-low budgeted indie flick, it's the kind of ultra-low budgeted indie flick that indie/microcinema fest lovers enjoy finding. The film has a wonderful ensemble cast, though the truth is this is York's film from beginning to end. The film does also include Arianna Tysinger (Ford v. Ferrari), Bill Mulligan (Kill Giggles), and indie vet David G. Holland. D.P. Jesse H. Knight's lensing balances capturing the deep humanity with giving us a sense of Jack's overwhelm whether confronting a staircase or dealing with another patronizing do-gooder. Neil Lee Griffin delves into the film's deeper emotions and makes sure we feel Jack's sense of grief and frustration.
Three Quarters is inspirational without dipping into the over-the-top inspiration porn. It's a realistic, honest film filled with heart and a genuine human journey made more poignant by knowing the truth underneath the film's script. As a huge fan of authentic casting and representation, kudos to all involved, especially York, for such deep artistic integrity and for creating such a meaningful, engaging film.
Producing any low-budget indie flick is challenging. It takes absolute passion, commitment, and sacrifice. This is even more true with a film like Three Quarters that tackles the complexities of what it means to be human and does so with transparency and dignity for the characters involved.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic