BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE DROWNING

By • May 22nd, 2013 •

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On a rare occasion I am fortunate enough to screen an original short film that captures that 70s look and feel, where the cinematography, editing, and sound design really stand out. Such is the case with director Jay Jennings’ THE DROWNING, a unique short that stays with you long after you’ve watched it.

A prediction, a tragic accident, and a slow drive through despair is the material that Jennings fashions into this remarkable and haunting piece of cinema that takes place in a brief span of time, giving us a glimpse into the life of a lost soul.

The film begins with an encounter with one of those street crazies on Hollywood Boulevard who randomly approach unsuspecting people, only this time the prophet of the boulevard is not joking around and is right on the money with his predictions.

A divorced dad (Rando Thomas) is trying to raise a small son and still have time for himself which, unbeknownst to him at the time, is a situation that places him on a collision course with the Book of Genesis and it’s account of Jacob’s Ladder, only it’s up to the viewer to understand if the ladder brings the soul of this dad closer to Heaven, where angels ascend and descend in equal measure, while the dad solemnly walks the tightrope between the light and the dark.

THE DROWNING was shot with an eye for detail and the L.A. locations work perfectly for the realization that death is real, and trying to cope with it after a tragedy makes everything in your world disappear into the void.

The aforementioned Thomas and Stacie Richards Dail (as the weeping girlfriend), give exceptional performances in this clever little film. The dad is having a bad week and it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone around him until it’s too late….or is it? THE DROWNING also echoes another independent film, the cult favorite CARNIVAL OF SOULS, as well as Ambrose Bierce’s haunting story, AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE.

The loss of a child is dealt with in the most surreal manner, giving the audience an opportunity to ponder the ageless question: “Is there a place in the afterlife for reuniting with loved ones?” In this case the reality is in the eyes of the beholder. In the end, THE DROWNING is yet another example of how a maverick filmmaker brings his own edge to the table and then some. Perhaps Jennings will discover another aspect of life to examine in his next film and through his talent, will continue to explore the many curves that life throws at us.

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