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I Am A Black Hole

Critic:

Joe Beck

|

Posted on:

23 May 2022

Film Reviews
I Am A Black Hole
Directed by:
Ronald James Baculo
Written by:
Ronald James Baculo
Starring:
Ronald James Baculo
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The past few years have seen a fair few filmmakers try their hand at making an 'isolation film' - depicting the depression and loneliness of life in quarantine. Generally speaking, if you've seen one of these films then you've seen them all - that's far from the case with 'I Am A Black Hole', which sets itself out as the standard-bearer for all 'isolation' films to come, jettisoning the fledgling genre to new heights with its measured tone and philosophical reasoning.

 

‘A black hole is formed when a star dies, I was a star once’. Everyone feels this way at least once in their life - that empty feeling of wasted potential, that you had it all and threw it all away. More often than not it’s an overreaction to something relatively minor, but sometimes it's part of something bigger - anxiety.

 


The painfully self-aware feeling gnawing away at you, constantly telling yourself that you’re a failure and you’ll never be where you want to be. In essence, you’re a black hole - alone in space, far away from everything else, and so self-deprecating that you bring down anyone that comes into contact. It's that connection between black holes and anxiety that Ronald James Baculo uses in the fittingly named ‘I Am A Black Hole’, to explore the nuances of our mental state.

 

Baculo stars as himself, struggling with the new (old now) life of living in isolation during the pandemic - the ‘eat. sleep. quarantine.’ shirt is a bit of a giveaway. Ronald appears to live alone, presumably in a cramped apartment and spends most of his waking hours- like the rest of us did - in front of a screen. He works on a screen - facing pressure from his manager. He communicates with friends on a screen - not seeing them in person for six months. He lives on a screen.

 

Whilst there seems to be an endless stream of films and shorts exploring the ideas of isolation and anxiety at the moment - that's the covid effect - ‘I Am A Black Hole’ stands out from an increasingly bland crowd due to its sharp editing and philosophical nature. This isn’t someone just going about their day and having a cry in the corner because they’re lonely, no, this is a man carefully weighing up the current state of his life, and coming to the conclusion that it can, and will get better. There are shades of Shakespeare’s greatest ‘Hamlet’ in Ronald’s meditations, with a hint of ‘Donnie Darko’ in its existentialism - this is a film which is in cruise control all the way through, never stuttering on its way to reaching its clearly set out goal.

 

It’s like watching a yacht calmly sail across the choppy waters - never flinching as the waves begin to get stronger and stronger. But then the credits roll and it's revealed that it was all shot on an iPhone (an iPhone 8+ no less!) and with the Filmic Pro App, and that’s when you begin to appreciate the genuine craft behind each shot, behind each little edit. 



 

The official synopsis of ‘I Am A Black Hole’ gives the impression that it’ll be “just another isolation film”. It’s a pleasant surprise that it never feels that way at all.

 

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film