What would it mean to be immortal? Countless authors and filmmakers have dealt with this loaded question, from Roger Zelazny in his Hugo Award-winning 1965 novel This Immortal to Darren Aronofsky’s centuries-spanning cinematic odyssey The Fountain. Made up of four vignettes, each helmed by a different filmmaker, Immortal also brings to mind the 2007 anthology The Signal, which similarly had a unifying theme, tying three disparate stories together. Within the span of an allotted 25 or so minutes, directors Tom Colley, Danny Isaacs, Rob Margolies, and Jon Dabach contribute their thoughts on the subject of eternal life. The result is darkly humorous, grim, violent, touching, and sometimes, yes, even enlightening. Immortal may not plumb the depths that some of its predecessors have, but it’s impassioned and, perhaps most importantly, never boring.
“What happens when these demons are set free by the notion of immortality?”
Immortality is not just a gimmick here. Through the eyes of its confounded, terrified, blissful, and tormented characters, the filmmakers take a look at the perils of living forever. For example, the protagonist of Margoiles’s “Chelsea,” Mr. Shagis (an always-riveting Dylan Baker), uses his “gift” to play a game with one of his students – star athlete and overall representative of the American Dream, the titular Chelsea (Lindsay Mushett). Twisting expectations at every turn, this segment is arguably the best one of the bunch, a cautionary tale about the demons that lurk under the most well-meaning exteriors. What happens when these demons are set free by the notion of immortality? Akin to the tranquilizer dart that punctures someone’s skin at a crucial moment, the segment’s bound to surprise and shock.
“Gary & Vanesa,” helmed by Isaacs, follows Vanessa (Agnes Bruckner) and Gary (Brett Edwards), a pregnant couple on the edge of bankruptcy. They resort to extreme measures that involve Gary’s life insurance. You may see the twist coming in this one – but it still manages to pack a punch, mostly thanks to Bruckner’s dedication to her part and its overall cynicism. The episode’s also notable for an impromptu appearance by none other than Mario Van Peebles as Carl the Cable Guy.
"…Immortal may not last forever in your memory, but it’s sure to leave a lasting imprint."