Out of One’s Misery (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Time flies, doesn’t it? I can’t believe it has been almost exactly two years since I watched and reviewed Michael Sharpe’s short movie, Deviling. It was, and no doubt still, one hell of a good short that I wholeheartedly recommend you check out. So, when I got the chance to check out his latest short, Out of One’s Misery, I will admit to being quite excited. As is usually the case with me though, it took a little longer than planned before I finally got around to it. I’ll tell you right now though; it was well worth the wait.
Set almost entirely in what looks to be a large log cabin, Out of One’s Misery sets out its focus upon a middle aged man, David, who seems to be wallowing in the loss of his family. He’s haunted by a mysterious, and violent, dream, and aims to take solace at the bottom of a bottle of Jack.
Events get even more sinister when a stranger turns up at his front door; a stranger who knows quite a bit about David.
Out of One’s Misery is a marvelous example of how to tell a story in 15 minutes. You get the perfect set-up, a creepy and atmospheric middle third, and then the reveal. Sharpe has already shown that he is an accomplished storyteller, and here he just amps it up a few notches. The story itself is solid, well told and will keep you guessing.
On top of the plot though, there is the masterful technical aspect to the film. Visually, Out of One’s Misery is wonderfully shot and looks terrific, with no screen time wasted, yet also a great patience to the unfolding of the plot. This is a terrific film, where all of the components come together to build a final picture that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Where the film truly excels though is in the cast. There are only four characters, with not an awful lot being required of two of them, but the main two, David and the stranger are quite excellent. Pat Dortch, as David, portrays perfectly the turmoil of a man in the midst of loss and on the edge of sanity, and the real surprise, for me anyway, is writer/director/editor Michael Sharpe as the stranger. It’s a subtle and dark performance, and one that really carries the weight of the film. He might not be the film’s focus, but without a convincing performance in this role, the film would not have been anywhere near as effective.
With Out of One’s Misery, Michael Sharpe has raised his game once again and delivered yet another excellent short film. I imagine that it won’t be too long before we see him take the jump into the feature length arena, and when he does it should be well worth keeping your eyes on.
For more information about Out of One's Misery, head on over the the film's Facebook page.