APOTHEOSIS ** USA 2018 Dir: Matt Hartley. 68 mins
Writer-director Matt Hartley’s dark, brooding psycho-drama centres around unhappy, misanthropic office lackey Cary Mark, who has a memorable first date in which he and his future girlfriend (Marley Frank) bond over cheerful, accurate statements like “We live only to die”.
They find a lot in common, including a history of child abuse, and soon move in together; when tragedy strikes, his already fragile mental state fractures as he faces potential doom. With its third-person, ominous narration, this character-driven piece at times feels like a nihilistic art-house remake of some lost TWILIGHT ZONE episode. Hartley does generate a sense of unease early on, but the flashbacks feel gratuitous and, although it’s well acted, the downbeat mood is alienating rather than compelling, making it seem significantly longer than its concise running time would suggest.
Review by Steven West