Directed by Mark Battle
Starring Dean Temple, Andi Morrow & Tim J. Cox
Short film review by Monica Jowett
Here Lies Joe brings together two lost souls in an unlikely way. Following dark and difficult themes of depression and suicide, the film, directed and written by Mark Battle, explores them with a light hearted humorous touch but never strays from the seriousness of the issues at hand.
The opening sequence shows Joe (Dean Temple) taping up his car and attaching a pipe to the exhaust before sitting in his car and turning the engine on. No dialogue or music is heard in this short time, and that sets the tone for the rest of the film.
The film is clever in bringing together two very different people. Joe finds it difficult to express his feelings and Z (Andi Morrow) is flippant and quirky in her attitude to life. Despite their differences they find common ground, which is an honest and real trait for people in their situation.
The two leads have obvious chemistry. Temple portrays Joe as low key and the pain he suffers is bubbling away at the surface. Morrow however makes Z funny yet we notice that her blunt exterior helps to hide her pain much deeper. Though they are both suffering, the performances show very different approaches on how to deal with it and it is impressive to see this variation.
The cinematography reflects the themes and plot in the film. Everything is shown in muted tones, there are no bright colours and at times the world seems grey – much like how it is for people suffering from depression. Each scene feels dark, and at times sad.
By using humour in the dialogue, there are hints at some sort of hope for Joe and Z. The clever way the two respond to one another, as well some good visual gags of Joe lying against a headstone shows that there can always be a humorous way to look at serious issues without removing its poignancy.
Here Lies Joe is a touching film which carries the perfect balance of drama and humour. The performances from Temple and Marrow brilliantly convey the way people approach and respond to the matter of suicide, and Battle has produced an emotional short film that is indie filmmaking at its best.