Directed by: Gigi Hozimah
Written by: Gigi Hozimah
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That Abandoned Place
April ( Jenny Hutton ) feels alone. As she stares at herself in the mirror we instantly know, as much as anyone could know such things, that she is a lonely woman. Quickly we learn that she recently attempted suicide and that the thought still looms within her mind. She insists that she won't harm herself again, but somewhere in the backs of our minds, we know that's not entirely true. That Abandoned Place is a micro-budget production that attempts to tackle various states of mental illness. Mainly, loneliness and suicidal thoughts and actions. This is tough subject matter for any title, and if I were to say this was a perfect film I would be lying. But then again, what is a perfect film? My cup of tea is definitely not yours. What this title does do right is convey a sense of hopelessness. A sense that nothing really matters and we're all just walking, talking, nothings. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Gigi Hozimah decided to take That Abandoned Place and create a slower, more thought provoking pace. This is an artsy film with an emphasis on simplicity, but to the point shots and framing. Lots of lingering images and plenty of close up fare. Numerous times I couldn't help but think That Abandoned Place mirrored the style and pacing of a taped audition. There is plenty of long, drawn out monologues that gave that distinct impression. But these sequences also did what they were intended, conveying April's mental state in a very to-the-point manner. In the end, I feel these sequences really helped me, the viewer, to focus on April's character.
Speaking of April, Jenny Hutton is one aspect of this film I can't fault in any way. Her performance keeps you interested in the film, and allows the slower pacing to be forgiven. Her portrayal of April, and her performance while doing so is the reason you can sense what is meant to be happening onscreen. Her world, as seen through her eyes, is beautifully demonstrated by looks and gestures that really drive the point home.
It occurs to me that this title has a lot going for it, despite it's few flaws. That Abandoned Place does feel a little long, but not all at once. You are drawn in and out of this title and just when you start to feel a little groggy, you get pulled back in. An ebb and flow few manage to achieve with this style of film. Gigi Hozimah's title will not be for everyone. For those looking for action, explosions, and break-neck pacing... this will not be your thing. For those who enjoy a slower, more thoughtful approach to filmmaking, for those who enjoy different interpretations of the mind, I can't think of any reason you wouldn't enjoy this. I'm somewhere in the middle. I can appreciate That Abandoned Place, but still, feel it was a little long winded for my personal pastes. Still, I'm glad I got the chance to check this one out. Two and a half stars.