The isolation of struggling alone with dwindling personal health is utterly debilitating. Though many have supportive systems of friends and family to help them through these sorts of troubling times, they do not completely mitigate the fear and exhaustion. Samuel Dawe and Paul Holbrook have contextualized this tragic solitude through an elderly man spectating a local football team. Sunday Worship is a short film bursting with emotional earnestness, though it is resolutely a mixed bag.
Jim Champion (Brian Croucher), after attending a funeral of a close friend, decides to walk home instead of taking the bus and comes across a pair of neighborhood football teams having a match, cheered on by a lively sideline of onlookers. After joining in with the comradery, Jim follows one of the teams to the pub, where he vicariously (observing from a distance) joins in as they sing and drink pints. Jim continues to watch the regular matches between the teams, while his wife Rose (Annabel Leventon), grows concerned at his gradually increasing erratic behavior.
“…something candidly powerful and resonant at the core of Sunday Worship…”
Croucher and Leventon ultimately make this film. Their serious commitment to their roles, blending with their natural chemistry, allow the gravity of each scene to sink in without much assistance. Especially when revelation scenes follow each other at the end, their genuine sensitivity oozes convincingly from the screen. Will Baldy’s cinematography wordlessly conveys mass amounts of information through his absorbing shot compositions and camera movements.
However, the editing infrequently sloshes the story between acutely attuned and grossly meandering, denying the film a succinct rhythm. This uneven editorial sense is further compounded by the filmmakers’ over-reliance of the musical score as a source of extended emotional conveyance. We know it’s melancholic; so the film’s multitude of different songs can be excessively unnecessary. All of the talent that is on screen and at the helm of the visuals are all of the immersive elements that were essentially needed to make this a truly great film.
But as it stands, it feels as if a wonderful home-cooked meal was submerged in a wading pool of canned chili sauce. There is something candidly powerful and resonant at the core of Sunday Worship, though it needlessly overcompensates, and is bloated as a result.
Sunday Worship (2018) Directed by Samuel Dawe, Paul Holbrook. Written by Samuel Dawe, Paul Holbrook. Starring Brian Croucher, Annabel Leventon, Neil Maggs, Craig Dear.
6 out of 10 stars