I WAS THERE is a short drama about a troubled man whose premeditated suicidal plans are put on hold when he comes across a strange box under a bridge by a beach. Technically, I think this would also count as a fantasy film but really, really only on the very slightest of technicalities.
Charlie, our troubled man, is hanging out on the beach and the pier and finally under a bridge where he starts to down a handful of pills when he suddenly finds a strange box. Rather a really freaking cool box of wood & leather. I NEED this box. Someone please tell me where you found this thing. PLEASE. Oh yeah, right. So, of course, there’s a thing with the box, but I’m not going to tell you because I’m not going to ruin the surprise. And then Charlie goes home and lives a long and happy life. The End.
So the film was pretty. Very very pretty. It definitely has that going for it. I really loved the cinematography. Such gorgeous shots of the beach and sunsets. It’s hard to go wrong there. And I’m glad Charlie didn’t kill himself, I am. But I also didn’t need to see Charlie’s boring, happy life either. Just…there was no conflict here. There was no story. Even the neat fantasy element wasn’t put to as good a use as it could have been. (I’m actually wondering something about the ending that I can’t tell you but I don’t know if it happened because, well, nothing actually happened.) Happy is good, I don’t think anyone will disagree with that, but it doesn’t necessarily make for an entertaining viewing experience. If we’d seen even just one less than beautiful moment of Charlie’s life, the film would have been better, but for all I know something magical happened under the bridge that day and he got a perfect life where nothing ever happened.
Mike Voigt who was playing Charlie was excellent. This is one of those films where there’s no dialogue, only scenes set to music, making the acting that much more important. I was less impressed with Mary Ann Axelsen who played his wife. While not absolutely horrible, she seemed much more forced, her actions played larger and more to the camera. Since this was a film that went through Charlie’s entire life, obviously he and his wife aged. Interestingly enough, depending on the shot, the makeup used to age them was either really, really good or looked like they were wearing a lot of makeup. This actually happened mostly in the next to last scene and more so with the actress so maybe they just weren’t sure what age they should be then or the lighting was wrong? Not sure but it was strange.
I WAS THERE isn’t a horrible film by any means; it’s just not one where a lot of anything happens. If happy and sweet is your cup of tea though and you’re in for a slight fantastical twist, then definitely check this one out after its festival circuit run! You can learn more on IMDB or check them out on Facebook!