By midlandsmovies, Mar 30 2018 07:14PM
Catharsis (2017) Dir. Jay Martin
The latest film from Midlands filmmaker Jay Martin follows a woman looking to escape from her grief following the loss of her child. It’s a very dark but not at all unreasonable take on how destructive personal loss can be, and also shows the lengths some people take in order to escape it for a short time. I for one love a grim storyline, so I was well in my element here.
Actress Olivia Newton takes centre stage here as Sandra. It’s a largely understated performance, but it is super effective in communicating everything that the audience needs to see. Before the film has even really started it is clear that she is very tormented by things that have gone on. After seeing one of the opening shots of her crying her eyes out in the shower, you’re immediately thinking about what could’ve happened, and everything else that could’ve led to this point.
Newton’s performance, combined with much of the writing in the film, is very thought-provoking, with later scenes indicating that it’s not only grief but loneliness that Sandra is feeling too. The scene where she returns home from work and just sits in silence with her husband is majorly indicative of this, and is definitely one of the more powerful moments of the film that I think will stick in the mind of anyone who watches it.
The story as I mentioned right at the start is very dark, and it maintains this approach for the film’s duration. It didn’t shy away from showing the main themes in their very worst light, and also didn’t offer so much as a silver lining in the form of a happy ending. I liked this decision taken by the writers a lot.
Something I wasn’t quite such a big fan of was how many questions I was left with once the very (presumably) unhappy ending had played out. It’s almost as if it provoked too many thoughts for me. I’m someone who likes closure when watching film, and so to be left with so many uncertainties doesn’t sit quite right with me. I need another film now to follow up on all the queries I was left with, but I won’t get into what those are for fear of spoiling the film for anyone else.
Probably what I liked so much about Catharsis though was the look of it. The aesthetics really worked for me. The low lighting used throughout so many of the shots properly complemented the overall tone of the film. The contrast between these scenes and those that showed the flashbacks also did a wonderful job of showing then and now, and the differences between those two times.
This is one of those films where the appearance completely fits the story it’s telling, which really enables the viewer to connect with it more.
Catharsis is a very good character study of someone going through possibly one of the worst times in their life. It casts everything in a very gloomy light, and never once makes the suggestion that things will get better for our main character who we have to see go through all of this.
I think it’s a take on grief, depression and a few other things that is very in touch with reality, and all the elements in the film come together to present this to its audience in the best way possible. And it’s because of all these things that you’re left wanting a number of answers at the end of the film. You are quite literally left wanting more, and that is never a bad thing when it happens.