Who’s With Me? Image

Who’s With Me?

By Bobby LePire | April 16, 2021

However, Who’s With Me? has a significant flaw, one that mutes its central conceit. For all the good James and his cast and crew do, and with how original a take on a quarantine story this is (the reason for the quarantine is unclear to both Ryan and Aileth), it really hurts that James fails to properly show a proper passage of time for Ryan and Aileth. A good chunk of the plot revolves around how the protagonists are unsure of how many days have passed since this whole thing began.

The film is broken up into the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Each part is an acronym such as Bored And Restless. Gritty And Ill. Now I Need Grace. The problem is that part one starts with the date stamp of “Current Time: Unknown. Time Passed: Unknown.” But the viewer is told by the neighbors that this is the first day, so the Current Time should be one day, at the very least, if a specific time is not available. This instantly throws off the audience, as there is a disconnect between what is said and what is shown.

“…makes excellent use of the single setting location…”

Plus, the set designer fails to make the apartment look increasingly grimier. Yes, Ryan is trapped in the apartment, so constant cleaning is not out of the question. However, the water being shut off entirely is a huge plot point, and yet laundry and the like never pile up in the corners of the room. For all the visual impressiveness on display in the lighting and cinematography, failing to address this and actually make it look like these characters have been trapped for such a long time hurts the overall impact Who’s With Me? hopes to achieve.

The passing of time places such a significant role in Who’s With Me? that it is a shame it is not made clear enough that the leads have been suffering in quarantine for a lengthy period of time. But, James imbues his dramatic tale with style, thanks to the cinematography and fantastic lighting. Plus, Ryan and Aileth are engaging, sympathetic characters who the audience comes to care for. Couple that with the outstanding performances, and one is left with a flawed though imminently watchable title that is a great springboard for all involved to move on to bigger and better things.

Who's With Me? (2021)

Directed and Written: Austin Allan James

Starring: Ryan Sherrill, Emma Julia Jacobs, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Who's With Me? Image

"…a great springboard for all involved..."

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