Directed by: Klifford Barkus
Written by: Klifford Barkus
Length: 15 minutes
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Suicide is never to be taken lightly. The reasons are different person to person, and the debate on social Vs genetics rages on. I personally subscribe to the theory that social 'and' genetic factors both contribute. But what do I know? The only thing I really, truly believe, is that there are two main types of people who consider suicide. The ones that attempt, or do it for attention. The ones who truly feel there is no other choice. The attention seekers are the people who broadcast their intentions. Looking for the sympathy grab from friends and family. An ego boost of sorts. The ones to really be worried about, are the ones who don't give any outright indications. One day... they are just gone. The problem is that the attention seekers occasionally succeed in their efforts. No help comes in time to save them. So the question becomes... were they really attention seekers? Or did they simply want help, relief, from their uncontrollable desire to just end it. This is where the debate gets muddy. For believers of 'both' ideals. Of course, all of this brings us to "Last Resort" from writer, director Klifford Barkus. Luke, played by Barkus himself, is struggling with suicidal thoughts. We get from the film, that he has been seeking help, but the battle within rages on. Self doubt, self loathing, all these things are visualized within the short film. We get to see some of what goes on in his head. A lot is also left open for debate. We, the viewers, are left wondering by the conclusion of the film, if Luke's battles are common place among suicidal people? Or if they are tailored for Luke alone. Some of the symptoms shown in the film are commonly talked about. Leaving us to think maybe, just maybe, there is a link somewhere. A link connecting so many other people. Yet it's really hard to decide if those 'common traits' or social anxieties become the final straw. We get to see Luke's battle. We get to see some familiar ideas. But how much of these ideas are the same with other suicidal people? We also get to witness the inevitability of it all and finally, we are left with one huge question. Could things have been different? I won't spoil the ending of "Last Resort" outright. I will write that I wasn't happy with the way things worked out. Maybe that was the point all along. Real life is messy.
The aim of this production in my eyes, was to both entertain and educate. Only, the educational element really didn't educate at all. The included graphics and statistics gave it a real educational feel, but the truth is that this was one persons journey. With the setup and pacing of this title, perhaps including a second protagonist, on a different path to the same destination, would have been much more entertaining. Maybe even a different overall conclusion. This would have demonstrated the "not set in stone" path of a suicidal person. Contrasting the similar and different stories. But I would be lying if I wrote I could help but keep watching. This film was like a drug. I craved seeing the journey and conclusion. So clearly Barkus knows how to tell the story. The use of narration was also a nice addition, and done well. My only real complaint was in the visuals themselves. Not to say they were bad... as far as a low budget micro-film, "Last Resort" looked pretty good. It did feel as if a filter of some sort were laid out for the entire movie though. Maybe some attempt to remove the grain or noise from the shots? Truth is... leaving the grain, or even adding some, would have vastly improved the feel of the film. The grit would have given the story a raw feeling, that I personally felt was lacking here. Other than that? Not bad at all.
Putting a narrative like this to camera is a tough thing but honestly? "Last Resort" sets out to tell us something... and damn it... it succeeds. Being that proverbial fly on the wall has never been so entertaining, in a sickening sort of way. This is a film you are entertained with, as you feel guilty about being entertained. This is a film that through it's entertaining pacing, allows you to really root for Luke and hope for the best. It's also a film that mirrors real life, especially the parts of it we don't want to see. Let me just leave it at that and say well done to the cast and crew.