Midlands Review of Cliff Edge
By midlandsmovies, May 11 2020 03:43PM
Directed by Samuel Bossman
Filmed partly in Birmingham, Cliff Edge is a new 20-minute drama exploring the difficult issue of male mental health in the 21st century.
A man (director/star Samuel Bossman as “Joe”) awakes from a vision on a cliff edge before he’s brought back to reality as a woman walks out of a pub in this opening of this recently released short that takes us through a slice of life story of a withdrawn man’s problems.
We cut to another day and from smoothies to working out, the film’s lead tries to maintain a sense of normality in the world. Suiting up for work and downing a beer, the film portrays an ever-growing sense of tedium in modern society given its reliance on technology and its subsequent distancing effects.
And more beer, takeaways, and extensive mobile phone use keeps the lead trapped in his apartment (and life). Hours lost and with frustration setting in, the man fails to even remove his work clothes, adrift as he is in his own sphere.
Habit and routine have made Joe’s life mundane and his evening ends by swiping through photos on a dating app. Arising the next morning, Joe vomits in his bathroom before realising he’s late for a meeting and rushes through a bustling city.
Joe bumps into the woman from the opening flashback, also doing so without realising it’s his future date. And as they are both looking down, self-absorbed in their mobile phones, they continue on their way, oblivious to their connection.
Finally, he’s back in the pub and as we return to the beginning of the short, the woman (Laryssa Schoek as “Eve”) explains her work in a scene of introverted awkwardness.
Joe’s lack of interest, not in just the date, but with the world in general shows his emotional distance and detached loneliness. Despite his depressive mannerisms, his date lends a more-than-kind listening ear but Joe throws it back in her face and she leaves.
The end of the short gives us a little hope but does seem to arrive from nowhere and is probably the film’s least engaging aspect. But the performances are good and the narrative clear yet suitably puzzling to maintain interest.
However, Cliff Edge ultimately concludes as a well-filmed study of the headaches faced in the present day. And it focuses on the complicated interaction between technology, isolation and psychological well-being.
The film also attempts to portray a non-judgmental narrative that neither condones nor absolves the protagonist. Much like Joe, the film very much has a “just is” tone. We’re left to find meaning in the film like Joe’s trying to find meaning in himself. And overall its swift 20 minutes provides a successful metaphor for contemporary angst.