Directed by: Taha Ismail Written by: Taha Ismail Starring: Taha Ismail Short Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
I love a good triple threat in people they always make for the most fun and let me tell you Taha Ismail is the ultimate warrior of triple threats with his short film Desolation.
Directing...boom, Written by ....boom and starring....yeah you guessed it, our main man Taha, and you would think with all that pressure and all that stress concentrated into one small feature, that he would slip up or lack skills in one of the chosen areas, well you would be wrong.
Taha plays the role of a high school student who is suffering from depression, to be more specific depersonalisation, derealisation disorder, which is when you lack the ability to relate to other people and the strong sense of becoming detached from yourself and your surroundings, and from the start we see him in a constant state of isolation and despair as he struggles to come to terms with his ever growing suicidal feelings.
Depression is one thing but derealisation and depersonalisation is a whole other minefield of pain, and the reality and sense of isolation that this illness causes, comes screaming though from the first moment we tune in.
Our leading man is alone, always, even when he is with other people, he chooses to surround himself in the digital world, looking at the pain and suffering of others on the news in a desperate attempt to generate any sense of emotion within him.
Desolation as a short film is bleak, literally, shot predominantly in the dark or using filters, Ismail uses this style to create a sense of claustrophobia as well as melancholy, and there is no sense of escape for our main man, constantly trapped within his own world of loneliness.
The film is led by the monologue of the lead character, as he describes in depth his symptoms and anxiety, but Ismail chooses to never let the character speak, perhaps a reflection of the fact that he cannot express his feelings, and even if he did would anyone listen? Highly unlikely, let’s face facts, if he did someone would tell him to just ‘’cheer up’’.
This is an important short film for anyone to see, especially those who may know someone who is suffering, or by someone who is suffering, documenting the many stages that depression takes, the symptoms and the effects that they have, and although some of it can be hard to watch in places it holds its relevance as this is the reality of the illness.
A striking and well shot film, confidently acted with a heavy sense of reality, sucking us in to a world of despair and hopelessness, Desolation is not for the faint of heart or people who are easily triggered but its importance to educate people on the state of mental health and its place in society is undeniable.