YOU ARE ALONE
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
A high school senior (Bohl) who turns tricks as an internet escort is found out by her lonely next door neighbor (Brundage) when she shows up as the entertainment at a bachelor party. In exchange for keeping her secret, he convinces her to spend an hour with him, and to fulfill one very special request.
Is it good movie?
From the description above, you'd think this was one kinky movie, that perhaps includes a little bloodshed, some healthy doses of torture (every movie does these days) and ample amounts of sex and nudity.
Well, all of these things are not in this film.
What You Are Alone does manage to be is a hauntingly dramatic exploration of loss and loneliness, driven by the performances of two compellingly real characters. Despite the fact that the majority of the film is an 84 minute striptease set to copious amounts of dialogue, I was glued to the screen. I honestly wanted to know how this one turns out. Definately not a horror movie by any standards, this film had a genuine sense of foreboding and despair about it that set up the vicious ending quite nicely. It's strange, but I didn't see that ending coming, and yet it puts the entire movie and most of the dialogue into perspective, especially if you believe that the end result of the tryst these two characters share was agreed upon during one of the many flashbacks or cutaways.
Acting wise, both of the leads handled themselves quite well with the ample amount of material they had to work with. Most impressive was the performance by Jessica Bohl as the high-schooler turned prostitute. She displays a brand of charisma rarely seen in actresses twice, even three times, her age, and she brings to her character a haunted and familiar quality that is infintely watchable. As well, her co-star, Richard Brundage is well cast as the pathetic neighbor who just wants to forget his pain.
Director Gorman Bechard displays an eye more suited to bigger budget fare, as he talks about in audio commentary, but here the results are stageringly bleak. While I'm not a fan of handheld shooting (which usually looks sloppy and even pretentious on an art school level... Paul Greengrass' work still gives me headaches!), it worked for this very intimate tale, lebding the story an immediacy that couldn't have been captured with conventonal cinematography. This was a very nice job done right, and it's easy to see why this was an award winner on the festival circuit (mostly for the screenplay, which is quite the read in its original form, and for Bohl's performance of course).
Colour me impressed. And for me to say that about a simply stark dramatic film is rare indeed. Nice job, and I can't wait to see more from everyone involved.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.66:1.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1).
We get a Feature Length Commentary by the director which is an interesting and informative listen (if you like those things, which thankfully I do), some 13 minutes of Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentay which serve as filler for some of the film's dialogue and flashbacks (Imagine being a teenager and your Mom asking you over dinner if you have anal sex!), both a long and short version of the Trailer, a Music Video which consists of shots from the film, and access to the script, an original short film (which is quite the treat), and other assorted odds and ends in the DVD-Rom Content.
Hauntingly real and emotional, You Are Alone is an intriguing and nicely shot drama with some fine acting and a great ending. Add all those ingredients and Momma Murray's Baby Boy is one happy critter! Very nice job by everyone involved. This is a compelling, dialogue driven story that plays out well on camera, which are used in a style that compliments the tone of the film. At least one horrific moment made this one worth the watch, but I'd just be griping if I wanted it to be more horrific, because as it stands the ending is well done and the whole is more than worth watching. Check it out if you can find it.