Directed by: Imogen Ross
Written by: #ImogenRoss
What are we doing here? What is our purpose? And what happens after? These are the eternal questions that humanity has pondered since we first came into existence, yielding no definitive answers. Yet there are some who believe they do understand their reason for being and what is waiting for them on the other side. But what happens to such a person if they suddenly realise that everything they had ever believed might be wrong?
Absit, brought to us from LoneRoss Productions and both written and directed by Imogen Ross, looks at the possibility of those worst fears coming true, and in this instance, how one's faith can give them great strength and hope but also how devastating it can be when that faith has been shattered.
Kiran (Andrew Cutcliffe) is a young man who has found his purpose through religion and has devoted his entire life to following that path, abstaining from drinking and romantic relationships and instead dedicating his time to seminary school studies with aspirations to become a priest. But after an incident while swimming, he is briefly taken through to the other side of mortality, only to discover it is not what he imagined. Now without a sense of purpose, Kiran's life begins to spiral out of control as he struggles to come to terms with this horrifying realisation that has come crashing down upon him.
The #shortfilm itself is split into two acts, with Kiran's incident being the pivotal moment between the two. Director Imogen Ross manages to really highlight the contrast between the two sides of this turning point, opting for brighter tones in the first half as Kiran's strength in his belief is unwavering, but moving to darker shades as he descends deeper and deeper into feelings of hopelessness and loss. This results in some impressive visuals throughout, which help emphasise Kiran's inner torment.
The film perhaps could have benefited from another couple of minutes where Kiran at least tries to rationalise or comprehend his experience more before beginning to let his faith slide away. But instead the change in his character seems rather swift, maybe even a little rushed. However, Cutcliffe turns in a decent and believable performance that is both relatively understated and grounded where it very easily could have been much more dramatic and over-the-top.
Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is left with little else to do apart from provide exposition and backstory and most of this is unnecessary and already apparent, as well as making up nearly all the script. But it is not too much of a detriment to the film's overall message as this is very much about Kiran's journey and delivered through showing rather than telling.
A mostly well-rounded piece, Absit tackles some of life's most pertinent questions and explores some interesting themes around faith and purpose and how important that can be to any of us if it is suddenly taken away.