Are You Awake?
Mar 4, 2023
Gabriel Caste, Ellyn Jameson, Paul Archer
The title of the short film Are You Awake has connotations of coldness, unfriendliness, and lack of emotions in the day-to-day behaviour of the female protagonist (Ellyn Jameson) due to the nature of her job.
The plot of Are You Awake revolves around a woman working as a door-to-door wake-up caller who encounters a client refusing to leave his bed (Paul Archer) who recounts his terrible nightmares.
In the opening sequence, the camera focuses on the wake-up caller as it transits from the black screen. The DOP Ian Coad attempts to build up suspense, mystery, drama, and thrill around Jameson’s character to increase the degree of audience engagement with the content. The combination of mid shots, close-up shots and extreme closeup shots are utilised to illustrate the busy schedule of the central character so that viewers feel involved right from the beginning. The white, red, blue, brown, and grey colour pallet, set design, dim lighting, eerie background music later switching to happier sound, dialogues, costume, hair, pale makeup, and props complement and elevate the subject the movie deals with as well as the key messages it delivers to its audience. The carefully designed mess in the room by the filmmaker is a clever way to depict the complexities of the brain to make the movie emotionally appealing to the viewers.
In terms of performance, Ellyn Jameson plays Dale the wake-up caller who is very dedicated towards her job and she feels the need to listen to the client’s problem and help them if possible. Jameson portrays the physical, and emotional trauma and the confused state of mind effectively through the body-language, voice modulation, facial expression and eyes. Dale tries hard to mask the sadness as well as the pain with the long hours of work and the actress understands the nuances of her character and delivers according to the demand of the script.
Paul Archer plays Bradley the client of Dale who suffers nightmares that make him realise critical aspects of life. Bradley has a multi-layered personality challenging to decode. Archer’s acting skills and techniques coupled with the chemistry between Dale and himself make it more interesting for the audience to understand and interpret him.
Are You Awake talks about the emotional rollercoaster one has to bear like sadness, fearfulness, and pointlessness but people shouldn’t lose hope at any point because even the darkest night can have a bright and sunny morning. The psychological thriller reiterates the fact that fear comes from within and we have to learn to deal with it and expecting genuine help from the outside is foolishness because the majority of people around tend to embrace the problems one has and not come up with real solutions. The dramatic piece also discusses the importance of the employer and employee relationship and how well-being and growth of the organisation are interrelated with the equation shared between the staff and the boss. The cinematic piece touches upon the significance of mental health and the need of emotional support from friends, family, or colleagues is essential. The creative piece also talks about the requirement of creating a healthy work-life balance to combat the issues regarding the complex structure of the mind.