A botched suicide attempt leaves Denise (Abigail Wilson) a paraplegic, learning to deal with her new wheelchair-bound life in filmmaker Robert van Halteren’s Cigarette. Still coming to grips, or more appropriately avoiding, the feelings that caused her to attempt suicide in the first place, Denise is not the easiest to work with and her only concern seems to be figuring out where her next cigarette is going to come from.
Cigarette covers some pretty heady ground in its 19 minutes, but it manages to stay away from being overly melodramatic. Denise isn’t always the easiest character to sympathize with, but she doesn’t go so far as to turn the audience off completely to her situation. Abigail Wilson somehow walks that tightrope throughout without tumbling over, a testament to her performance.
In the end, the film is actually a very straightforward affair, and the artistic flourishes the film employs from time to time via editing or composition know their place and keep things moving forward. The film looks great and sounds just as good, with the story working as a snapshot of an emotional and physical crossroads in a person’s life.
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