Written & Directed by: #RaphaelFrostGonzalez
A relationship is tested when one friend, Ezra, asks the other, Gavin, to help him commit his suicide.
A somewhat comedic or light-hearted take on a serious subject, The Living shows a friend crying for help with ending his life. Ezra (Taylor Hancock) is tired. He believes that no-one likes him anymore, that there is no purpose for him. Gavin (Raphael Frost Gonzalez), his only friend, willingly agrees to assist. As the film progresses, their friendship is tested with many hurdles.
Opening with no effort to ease the viewer into the dark themes, writer and director Raphael Frost Gonzalez drops the question right off the bat and things are set in motion. Across its short runtime, The Living places focus on two friends who seem close but probably haven’t seen each other in a while, showing what their relationship is like, and what kind of people they are. Over this time, filled with some fun and charm set inside a beautiful house in the plains, Ezra and Gavin connect in ways they never thought possible. There’s a lot of conflict both physically and internally for both men, and by the end of the film they seem changed, though unchanged in some strange way.
Challenging an audience to view tough materiel with a lighter mindset is hard, but Gonzalez’s execution both in the witty dialogue and familiar direction makes it somehow work. It’s not the most perfect blend of humour and weightiness, but since people do utilise comedy as a means of covering up true feelings, or just as a coping mechanism, it’s believable. The two characters are played well by Hancock and Gonzalez, though I wish there was more time to expand on the topic of suicide and perhaps shine more light on the affects it can have, but there are other stories out there that do this and so, in a way, The Living is sort of refreshing.
The location used in the film — an expensive looking house in the plains of what seems to be a wind turbine farm — is captured wonderfully by Emily Tapanes. There’s plenty of light coming through each scene, thanks to the design of the house, which makes for some nice framing. Additionally, the uplifting score by Alex Twomey brings some more brightness and while it doesn’t leap out, it seems like a fitting piece for this unique little puzzle.
The Living, first and foremost, is a film about friendship. The test of bonds and how hurdles can be jumped. It’s also an important film about a very real subject, and though it takes a more shaky route than other stories, it ends up in a fairly satisfying place, even with its question or two to spare.
Watch the trailer for The Living below.