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By Doug Brunell | May 10, 2005

If you’ve ever been a struggling artist or are a struggling artist, this may be a hard film to stomach. Even if you’ve never tried to tackle art as a way of life, this film may still hit a little too close to home. Its main character, Ron (Luis Juliao), is unhappy with the direction his life has taken, and who hasn’t been in that situation at one time or another? Exactly.
Ron once won all kinds of kudos for a short film he made years ago.
He wanted to go on to bigger and better pictures. It was his childhood dream. He wanted to make movies that mattered. He wanted substance. He wanted to make a difference. The gods of art had different plans for him, though. His career died before it ever began, and he was even less lucky with love and his friends. Suicide not only seemed like an option, it looked like the only solution.
Yeah, this may bother some people.
Ron’s story is nothing new, and “Closer to Death” isn’t a perfect film. In fact, until one gets used to the way it jumps back and forth through time, the picture is fairly confusing. And there’s the slight hint of pretension there, too, that may be off-putting to some. If viewers just let themselves go with the story, however, they are in for a harrowing journey that has no real destination. Ron’s life is a lot of people’s lives, and Beaucage’s film doesn’t pretend otherwise. His Ron character is just like everyone else. He has his flaws and dreams. He has made his share of mistakes, and he wants what we all want: things to change.
This film isn’t the happiest movie around, but it is one of the more honest ones out there. It’s also not content with merely saying, “Life sucks.” It wants to remind you that life is a constant grind on the sanity of our souls, and it asks: Is there a better way?
The answer may be even more depressing than the movie.

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