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Dying Alone short film review


Directed by: Philip Brocklehurst

Written by: Philip Brocklehurst

Starring: P.M. Thomas

Still Image from Dying Alone showing closeup of eye.
Still Image from Dying Alone

A man is lying inside a bathtub and commits suicide by drinking poison. Dying Alone is the final part in Brocklehurst's Suicidal Thoughts trilogy, preceded by To Be or Not To Be (2018) and Feel (2019).

The man (Thomas) is lying on his back inside a bathtub. He is bare-chested. He drinks poison from a small bottle and waits, until slowly he passes away.

The entire action of this short takes place inside a bathroom, more accurately, inside a bathtub. Brocklehurst uses closeups of the man's face and stomach in order to capture his final moments.

Brocklehurst has stated that he wanted to show death in its most matter-of-fact way, and he does so in a very dramatic manner.

After the man drinks the poison, the film repeatedly cuts between a closeup of the man's face and a closeup of his stomach and umbilicus. The man's face expression remains the same: melancholic and staring into the camera. His stomach's movements gradually slow down, indicating that his breathing is becoming weaker and he is dying.

The man does not say a word, but the film's voice-over, which consists of the his inner thoughts, starts of with a normal tone and after the poison administration, becomes slower and slower and quieter and quieter, revealing that he is passing away.

The haunting and atmospheric music by Stephan Ortlepp also plays a part in the indication of the man's death. From the beginning the score's volume is strong, then after the poison, the volume is gradually turned down, until it is no longer heard at all, suggesting his death.

The cinematography also indicates the man's passing. The majority of the film is shot using color. However the final few shots are filmed in black-and-white, representing his dying moments, that he is moving from life to death, from light into darkness.

The first shot shows clothing being placed inside a basket. Apparently this is done by the man, just before he takes his on life. According to Brocklehurst, this action symbolizes the fact that no matter what people own in life, they cannot take anything with them after they die, because death is depersonalizing.

Watching Dying Alone is far from a pleasant experience. The atmosphere is distressing and depressing. However, it is successful in showing what death is: nothing. A state in which there is no sound, no movement, no color, nothing at all.



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