I Am The Wanderer short film review

Directed by: #PhilipBrocklehurst

Written by: #BradfordNSmith

Starring: #JonathanSkyeOBrien, #ZuzanaSpacirova, #MarieBrowne

Short Film Review by: Chris Olson

Bereft of much narrative intrigue and full of technical shortfallings, short film I Am The Wanderer, directed by Philip Brocklehurst and written by Bradford N. Smith is an indulgent odyssey of the blandest kind.

Jonathan Skye-O'Brien plays the aforementioned Wanderer, a lost man full of despair. He spends his time slouched against trees or trying to thumb a ride on a nearby dual carriageway. His isolation is broken only by a female figure (Zuzana Spacirova) who emerges as a ghostly figure only to disappear the moment he gets closer to her.

I Am The Wanderer is ten times longer than it needed to be, with a forty-minute run time and basically only one sequence: Skye-O'Brien lurking around a very nondescript location looking totes emosh. The limited dialogue, character backstory, or exposition means audiences will be unlikely to engage with anything other than the central character’s loneliness which, without context, seems baffling rather than compelling.

The music from Stephan Ortlepp is completely misjudged, as if he was given free reign to make every second as dramatic as the last. It doesn't work and ends up feeling completely distracting and at odds with the minimal visual stimulation being given to the viewer. There is a scene where the Wanderer attempts to go down some stairs that was so built up it felt like he was the first man on Jupiter. There were parts where the sound design was very poor. Perhaps explained by a limited budget but for a film depended on only a few aspects, this should have had more of a priority.

It could be acknowledged that I Am The Wanderer is full of metaphors and symbolism that may engage the audience in some way. No one stopping to offer him a ride shows societal apathy when it comes to the suffering of our fellow humans, or the astronomical task of descending the stairs could reflect his sliding further into despair. However, these are so laborored the movie becomes an endurance test of monotony.

Movies where the central character experiences a strong conflict between hope and despair are often indulgent to a point. The audience is given one person to properly focus on, invest in, and cling to the thought that they will find the promised land of the former. Usually, these stories come with enough accompanying material to give us a reason to join them on their tumultuous journey, and then we experience a plethora of challenges and obstacles which will test their mettle. With I Am The Wanderer, these fundamentals are not followed and as a result we get dropped into the character’s struggle which barely moves until the final stretches of the film, by which time most viewers will have embraced their own despair and moved on.