Morning is, perhaps, the most controversial time of the day. For some, it’s a bucket of cold water. For others, it’s a cup of warm coffee. For the lead character of A Quiet Morning, written and directed by Justin Suttles, there’s no morning at all. There’s only the cruel continuation of a day that never ends.
Through a radio broadcast at the beginning of the film, we can gather the information we need. A man recently acquitted of a charge involving the rape of an eleven-year-old girl has gone missing. Our lead character, played by David Yazdiya, listens expressionlessly, then turn it off with a matching amount of apathy. We don’t get the impression that he’s incapable of emotion, but rather, that he’s recently run dry.
What follows is a series of shots in a hollow home where we see him in various states of exhaustion, uncertainty, and guilt. He calls a few people and makes some vague apologies, but we don’t get a clear sense of his relationship with anybody. Suttles goes out of his way to not say anything outright but to allude and suggest. We see blisters on the man’s knuckles, which, along with coughing up blood, has become one of the cinema’s most fatigued efforts to show and not tell.
“There’s only the cruel continuation of a day that never ends…”
While the photography is calculated and the suggestion comes across in all the ways it’s supposed to, the movie itself feels like a loose-end. This has nothing to do with a cliffhanger or unresolved storylines; it’s more to do with the taste of insignificance that it leaves you with. In a way, it feels like an eight-minute slice of a larger story that’s been severed and left to die, bereft of context or purpose. It has nothing to add to the traditional revenge storyline and, as a result, there’s nothing to take away. The movie comes and goes like a tumbleweed over an abandoned road.
There’s something to be said about a short film that travels on the y-axis rather than the x-axis. In other words, a film that chooses to go inward, rather than forward. However, A Quiet Morning doesn’t dig into its lead character or his torturous frame of mind, even though it clearly sets out to do so. It’s more concerned with mimicking the behavior of a tragedy than offering a fresh perspective, or any perspective. Any perspective would have been nice.
A Quiet Morning (2018) Written and Directed by Justin Suttles. Starring David Yazdiya, Kenny Logsdon, Haven Sierra, Christian Wallace, Lauren Nixon.
4 out of 10 stars