There come times in everyone’s life where the reality of our own mortality has to be addressed. One of the more common events in which this realization can occur is when our beloved pets have to be put down due to age or medical ailment. Lynda Reiss delivers a brisk, concise snapshot of a man commuting to the veterinarian to euthanize his cat, but in turn, manages a bittersweet stream of conscious on the process of grief. Ready To Go is a beautifully executed blend of light sardonic humor and tragically sincere introspection.
The first scene, where Lance (Kevin Doyle) playfully reassures his aged cat Missy, (Galen) after she gets spooked by a whistling teakettle, immediately (and wordlessly) contextualizes and gravitizes the story. When Lance reaches the bus station with Missy, a older woman (Barbara Clague) already there becomes the silent lightning rod for his rolling commentary on the many mindsets of those nearing their death (from the elderly being sent to hospice, to death row inmates headed to their executions), which is kept up all the way to the vet.
“His visual style…extenuating the natural charisma and expressiveness of Doyle…”
Doyle carries the story with his quirkily dry performance, always shadowed over by melancholy. John Craine’s cinematography is economical and employs a seeming bare minimum amount of coverage, mostly hallmarked by several impressive dolly pushes peppered throughout the 9-minute runtime. His visual style compliments the taut and snappy editing by Edward Crompton, extenuating the natural charisma and expressiveness of Doyle at an awesome pace. All of these elements are (of course) indicative of Reiss’s succinct and nuanced direction, and sly artistic flourish.
The ending is something truly special, with implications in earlier scenes made even more weighty in those final moments. Where the filmmakers could have easily made a small ripe melodrama about humans saying goodbye to their pets, they turned it into an allegorical conversation on death. Ready To Go is a wonderful short, and hopefully emblematic of future directorial work by Reiss.
Ready To Go (2018) Directed by Lynda Reiss. Written by John Craine. Starring Kevin Doyle, Galen, and Barbara Clague. Ready to Go screened at the 2018 East End Film Festival.
★★★★ / ☆☆☆☆☆