Nesting Ground (2015) – By Misty Layne

Nesting Ground is a beautifully constructed short film dealing with the pain of living in the present and letting go of the past. Noah is a young shut in and hoarder with only his two finches and someone he consistently talks to on the phone for company. Dishes are piled in the sink. Flies float lazily around through the mountains of pizza boxes and garbage. Old magazines and junk mail are piled high. It’s desperately sad to see.

As the film goes on however and we listen to Noah explain to the person on the phone why he does what he does, you can almost see the sense in it – keepsakes are keepsakes whatever they may be, right? The person on the phone seemingly tries to convince Noah to leave his home, to clean, to live but Noah refuses time and time again. Then, one of his finches unexpectedly dies, causing Noah to break down and go ransacking his house for a lost memory. And by the end of the piece, one gets the feeling that maybe, just maybe, Noah might soon feel sunshine on his face once again.

Based on the play by Alex Parobek and written and directed by Ian McCullough, Nesting Grounds is one of those special short films that seems almost underwhelming at first till you realize the many layers beneath. The cinematography is lush, particularly a scene involving an unknown girl and a sprinkler at night. This film is quiet and unassuming but more than capable of pushing all the right buttons and making you reconsider what you once thought you knew. Anthony Stratton as “Noah” is phenomenal -engaging, intriguing, heartbreaking – I couldn’t take my eyes off him. To call his performance evocative would be an understatement.

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