27 May 2022
Toby Mitchell, Kahmal Sealey, Emma Nihill
Mark wakes up on a beach confused and alone, unsure as to how the previous night’s events led to him being there. We get the sense that he has had a rough night but, as this short film progresses, it becomes clear that Mark’s traits have become habitual due to some dark events that took place before. Grey Sea is a quirky comedy that deals with some challenging themes and the brutal reality of finding life to be overwhelming.
Young and unemployed, Mark is unable to deal with his daily despair and instead relies upon alcohol to cope every day. He first appears to be a moody and uncapable man who has no desire to do anything with his life, which is shown through his friends and housemates joking with him. The script itself is a quintessentially contemporary British script, as there are pockets of dialogue about UK news presenters, classic drinking games and pub and house party culture. Mark’s life with his friends is real, as writer Jacob Sherwood captures a relatable moment in time of a group of young people trying to live life with its many challenges. It is a reality that hits hard, and is bittersweet, especially after two years of a global pandemic.
The struggle of not knowing which direction your life is going in is the crux of Mark’s story, as he begins to isolate himself with his unhealthy habits and his friends do not know how to handle it. Director Tom Morgan has opted for plenty of close-up profile shots to get an even greater visual sense of Mark’s turmoil, which is certainly effective and makes the film chilling to watch at times. Confronted are the real issues of alcoholism and depression and a lack of motivation that comes with these and suddenly the audience is led to understand why Mark feels so low. The reality behind his issues is a lot deeper and more convoluted than we realise and his interactions with other characters suddenly makes sense.
Plot-wise, the film does take a few tangents along the way, but arguably this shows how Mark is just trying to survive. As he must come to terms with his grief and decide how he wishes to keep on living, he decides that his life is not wasted if he chooses to grow.
Grey Sea is emotional and incredibly moving as Mark’s story reminds audiences to keep their loved ones close and that a greater future is always possible. So raise a yoghurt to the ocean, because this one is worth the watch.