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The Sublime Hubris

average rating is 3 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Jun 4, 2024

Film Reviews
The Sublime Hubris
Directed by:
David Matthew Johnson
Written by:
David Matthew Johnson
Harleigh McCullum, David Matthew Johnson, Ryan Anderson

A young man expresses his negative perspective on humanity.


This experimental feature-length drama utilises a variety of filmmaking techniques in order to tell a story. With the main character's voice-over, it starts off with a series of long takes, with the camera being static. Later on, there is brief camera movement and from then on the story is told via still images, before a black screen takes over for the last twenty minutes or so with narration being the only form of storytelling during that sequence. The seventy-minute-long film is in black-and-white, apart from a brief long-take scene. Why is that scene in colour? That is not explained.


The protagonist is a young guy (McCullum) and judging by his voice-over, he does not like people. He sees them as no-good and believes that he is superior to them. He is an outsider, a loner and through his voice-over, he talks about how much he detests everyone. He also states that he enjoys watching people so that he can observe them and find out in what ways they are flawed.


The first half hour or so is slow, with long takes showing the man engaging in a variety of activities that involve lying down on a pavement, leaning against a wall or sitting on a bench. During this, his narration provides an insight into his unjoyful point of view regarding humanity. Things start to pick up when he encounters an unfortunate guy (Johnson) who was beaten up outside a bar. The protagonist approaches the guy and he manipulates him into becoming his so-called 'Warrior' and convinces him to embark on a path of violence.


Using still images in order to tell a story is unusual in the world of filmmaking and the images along with the editing and the voice-over create a narrative that is easy to follow. The black screen that occupies the final fifteen to twenty minutes of the film creates quite a different viewing experience in comparison to the rest of the feature, like listening to the radio. It should be mentioned that apart from the voice-over there is no speech.


Some viewers might find the music to be a let-down. The score that is heard throughout is repetitive and it sounds more like a continuous noise. The intention was probably to create drama, however listening to it feels dull.


This is a story about isolation and a misanthropy and it explores these two subjects through the eyes of a troubled and angry youth. What primarily stands out are the filmmaking techniques, how the feature moves from long takes, to stills, then to a black screen, in order to create a narrative. The creativity is to be recognised and so is the intriguing dark story.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film
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