“I just feel so empty inside.”
Is depression horror? Absolutely, yes! It’s what Space Jockey Reviews calls real-world horror. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Twenty-five million Americans suffer from depression each year, and over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. Depression affects nearly 5-8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year. It is a leading cause of disability that haunts and kills the spirit, making victims feel worthless, alone, and hopeless. So, yes again! Depression is horror, 100 percent! Lone, the latest short film from Lien Mya Nguyen (writer, director, and producer of Lonely Holidays, Would You Change Anything, and Pray on Darkness) is an emotional tour do force, and one of Nguyen’s most dramatic performances, highlighting the terror of depression as much as anything we’ve seen at Space Jockey Reviews!
In Lone, a “one-lady cast and crew” accomplishes more than numbers of cast and crew might accomplish in other productions. Yes! As the movie’s writer, director, editor, and sole actor, Lien Mya Nguyen truly does it all, making us launch rockets at SJR for that alone. But, is there more here than an impressive of a one-woman production? Yes! Lots more! Of foremost importance is Nguyen’s performance as the depressed and desperate young woman, languishing, slipping ever closer to suicide. Nguyen owns the performance entirely, as if she is the woman, in every way, with every emotion expressed. Tears, hopeless stares, and bouts of uncontrollable crying, depict a woman drained of a will to live, but desperate for a lifeline. All are acted in a most believable, realistic way, allowing viewers to participate vicariously. The most indelible image is that of Nguyen crying, as her face recedes and fades, symbolically becoming one with darkness….and death.
As for cinematography, the black-and-white production, with matted, oval borders, gives viewers a miopic, candid view of a depression victim’s life, or what there is of life, dragging her more toward death than anything for which to live. Like a fly on the wall, we see the film’s “lone” character experiencing hopelessness and longing, working together, creating despair that is endless. Monochromatic tones compliment the struggle subconsciously. As the Danish existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote, in his book by the same title, despair is “the sickness unto death.” In Lone, we see that despression is, indeed, the essence of everything that decays and decomposes all that we are, dehumanizing us even to ourselves, making our lives less important, less worth enduring another day. In Lone, poetically, depression is the seductress of death.
As for music, mellow, reverberating piano notes match the mood and tone perfectly, complimenting, but never distracting from the film’s visual impact. Voice overs by Nguyen, as stream-of-consciousness narration, pull viewers into her thoughts, ever deeper. Images, music, and emotions snynergize flawlessly to achieve the movie’s goal, with resounding success!
Clocking in at an effiient seven-and-a-half minutes, Lone is loaded with images that, unto themselves and out of context, are art prints and paintings, freezing dramatic moments and emotions, as timeless reminders of real-life horror. Selections in this review are just a sampling of the countless images I observed in a single viewing. The portfolio of such images is almost endless.
As a well-delivered message (and distress call) to the world, Lone is a ten-rocket movie at Space Jockey Reviews any day! A top-notch, realistic performance by Nguyen, a just-right melancholy score, and images to fill an art gallery, make Lone a short film to remember for more than the message. Already an “Official Selection” at Miami, Florida’s 2017 Fun Film Festival, rewards are sure to follow!
Be sure to watch Lone below, and tell your friends about it too! As an SOS for the nameless millions of victims of depression the world over, watching Lien Mya Nguyen’s short film is the least you can do; reaching out to a friend with depression is the most, possibly enough to save a life! Don’t be the one who says, when it’s too late, “I wish I would’ve picked up the phone,” or “I should’ve taken a few moments to listen to her.” One person can be the world to some. Be that person!
Below, are more haunting images from Lien Mya Nguyen’s Lone, followed by the complete short film!
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