Inch of Grace (2011) – By Josh Samford

The short-form subject is an incredibly varied medium by its very nature. While it is most often used as a means of experimentation, there are some filmmakers who find it to be an excellent tool in crafting fully functional narratives. While it seems impossible that someone could craft a narrative that remains satisfying at a mere twenty minutes in length, it seems that director Steven W. Miller has done just that with his short film Inch of Grace. A very passionate look at human redemption, Inch of Grace is not your run of the mill "rise and fall" story. It does not jump to its inevitable redemption in the most conventional of ways, but instead it does offer slight hints of positivity in a film that presents a very dark world. A brooding piece of cinema, Inch of Grace features some incredible performances, brilliant cinematography, and a very engaging story.

Inch of Grace tells the story of Alex (Linds Edwards), a author who is slowly turning into a one-hit wonder. After scoring with several great successes, his self-destructive behavior has finally caught up with him. Addicted to heroin, he spends his days either getting high with his drug dealing girlfriend or heading down to the local cafe to have a conversation with Sara (Jessica Shipp), a lost friend from high school. These two have slowly developed feelings for one another, but due to Alex’s addiction and Sara’s abusive boyfriend, it seems as if their romance may be doomed. Will they find a way to make it work? What will it take to wake Alex up from his drug induced self destructive path?

The visual quality of the film is one of the first thing to grab the audience’s attention. Bathed in a beautiful white and blue light, Inch of Grace is almost always washed out with bright lights. The lighting is presented in such a heavy form that it becomes ethereal and other-worldly. Director Steven Miller presents his story with a great deal of visual tenacity. During the early half of the film, many sequences are presented in a split-screen style similar to some of Brian DePalma’s earlier work. This sequence does a great job in showing the varying aspects that surround our two leads and the objects that inevitably bring them together. Miller does an excellent job while playing with these narrative toys, but his film never becomes a case of style over substance.

A very strong short film, Inch of Grace shows some heavy talents behind it in all regards. While it may not seem like the most absorbing concept from the outset, it does manage to capture and hold the audience’s attention. I would certainly recommend checking it ouf if the opportunity becomes available. You can see the trailer via Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/20573050