Hey gang, Valkor here. When I started covering films for TOV, short films were never part of the equation. Hell, neither were indie films, because I only wanted to cover popular, more mainstream titles. That all changed in 2008 when I opened up the gates for films that fit in the aforementioned genres. And thankfully I’ve come to embrace both worlds and will happily give them their moment on the MediaView Chopping block. Good or bad, it’s all about the effort. And for this next short film to come my way, I must give much praise to the efforts behind “Here Lies Joe”, for not only being an exceptional piece, but it shows me how much I’ve grown since becoming a reviewer.
“Here Lies Joe” centers on Joe Barnes (Dean Temple); a guy who's a down-trodden, shell of a man, on the verge of suicide. He joins a support group and it’s there where he meets “Z” (Andi Morrow), who is something of a “free spirit”. Z pretty much forces herself into Joe’s life, taking him down a path of spontaneity, visiting a graveyard, eating random strawberries, and a little tree climbing – you know, free spirit stuff. And while this might be something off the beaten path for Joe, maybe, just maybe this could be a good thing for the both of them. I won’t go into the film’s ending, but I will point out that it doesn’t end how I thought it would. Because if it did… I might not have done this review. Might.
Checking out “Here Lies Joe” has truly shown how far I’ve come as a reviewer/critic. Since I’ve started covering indie/short films, I’ve explored films that never would have caused a blip on my radar – ever! And while there’s still room for growth in my world, I look forward to seeing what the future has in store.
“Here Lies Joe” is a beautiful work of art, which showcases the ups and downs of depression. And yet through the midst of it all, two figures who're from completely different worlds, find one another through the cloud of sadness and loneliness. And they’ll either make or break something of their new found friendship. The story is quite ambitious considering the subject matter, but it plays out rather nicely and paced just right. As far as the acting is concerned, Dean Temple and Andi Morrow have great chemistry together. However, it’s Dean who stands out the most as the quiet yet somber Joe; you can really feel the depth of his sadness through the look in his eyes. I get that the source of his sadness is the wife, who is not featured in the film, but through an old image that Joe takes along with him. However, what happened that they’re now apart? Did she die? Did they split up? Did she cheat on him? It’s like, I’d like to know but at the same time, I’m okay with the mystery behind the image. Andi Morrow's "Z", deserves accolades as well, though we don't know much about what makes her sad. Could it be she's lonely because people don't accept her quirkiness? Or is it her quirkiness that she uses to hide her sadness? Or is it something else? In the end, I found “Here Lies Joe” to be 24 minutes I wouldn’t mind experiencing over and over again.
“Here Lies Joe” is doing the film festival rounds, but where it goes beyond that only the future knows. But you can expect an update should it get a wider release through other mediums. Until then, the film gets high TOV marks for being something kind of special, and I’d highly recommend any and all to check it out. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “Here Lies Joe” a perfect 5.