To Be Alone

There's something particularly numbing about being alone when you aren't used to it. William (Timothy J. Cox) certainly isn't used to it, as he moves aimlessly about his large, empty house in the woods. He wears a wedding ring but there's no sign of his wife anywhere. He fills his time with sleep, religious television shows, his Bible, and pointless building projects. Or perhaps what he's building isn't so pointless after all.

There's at least one neighbor (John Mahler) who's concerned about William, but they can't seem to connect on the phone. Finally this concerned citizen decides to make the drive out to William's place -- but what will he find? And perhaps more importantly, what will he think about what's been happening in this isolated house?

The first thing I thought of upon watching this short film was a quote from Thoreau: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." William exemplifies this as he falls apart hour by hour and minute by minute, with Timothy Cox very capably portraying William's disintegration. Even the most extroverted people need a certain amount of time to themselves to recharge -- I know I get twitchy if I go too long without an hour or so of quiet time, though admittedly I'm pretty introverted -- but there's an equal danger in too much solitude, especially when you aren't used to it.

There isn't a wasted shot in this simple but engrossing film, and it is indeed full of quiet desperation. It reminds me of Here Lies Joe -- there are no shocking twists in either film, but in both cases the slow reveal of the truth is all that's needed to build tension. I'll give it four out of five. After it was over I wanted to watch it again, and as simple as that is, there's not much better praise for a movie.

William in the lonely, lonely woods.


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