“Dear Julia” is an effective creepy and seriously funny short film about a man with an acute Daedalus complex and the oddball who helps him achieve his obsessions. Based on the graphic novel by Brian Biggs, “Dear Julia” focuses on Boyd, a young man who functions as part of the world but lives isolated from mankind. Since childhood, he dreamed in vain to be able to fly like a bird (or, as they would say in the less refined corners of New York, like a “boid”…or Boyd, get it?).
Boyd’s secret dream came to the surface a few years earlier when he and his then-girlfriend Julia discovered a dead body in the middle of an open field. How the body got there was curious: the dead man had homemade wings on his back and apparently fell from the skies to his death. Boyd remained haunted by what he saw until a chance meeting with a weird old man named Leo, who not only has photographs of the dead man’s fatal flight but also the wings used in the avian adventure. Needless to say, the wings give Boyd the chance to live his airborne desires.
Filmmaker Alistair Banks Griffin helms “Dear Julia” with an effectively surreal David Lynch style, often out-Lynching Lynch with a heavy sense of weirdness. The dream casting of John Los as Leo, with wild bushy eyebrows resting atop intense staring eyes, is golden and perhaps one could wish there was more of him on screen. However, there is no reason to complain about the troubled Boyd as portrayed by Christian de Rezendes, who weighs his Earth-bound character with a sublime sense of panic and doom. De Rezendes is himself a talented filmmaker, whose most feature is the extraordinary “Getting Out of Rhode Island” (named Film Threat’s Best Unseen Film of 2002), and his performance easily makes one hungry to see him in front of the camera again.
If one has to complain about “Dear Julia,” it would be that the film should have been extended into a feature. The film’s weird and wonderful concept seems confined as a short; perhaps like a bird, “Dear Julia” could have flown far and wide if more running time had been allowed. But even in its tight 20 minutes, the film is still (pardon the bird brained pun) a feather in filmmaker Griffin’s cap.