People who are easily bored are usually boring people. Perth filmmaker Kenta McGrath proves this in a short film about an Australian teenager named Zack (Cody Fern), who spends his time filming random meaningless bits of his life with an old video camera. He seems to have no ambition at all, be it to assemble this footage into a film, to do something meaningful with his life, or otherwise. Like Zack’s life, this film has little real purpose. It follows our antagonist through his tedious existence, from a drunken prank, to the purchase of new camera supplies, to his friends drinking beer and complaining about life, to a vile encounter with a drunk girl he finds passed out on a beach.
As the film finally plods towards something resembling a climax, Zack, desperate to feel something real, eventually takes his passively reckless behavior to the ultimate extreme. He does something very, very bad, seemingly on a whim. He apologizes to the victim of his narcissistic act with a rather feeble “I’m sorry”. If he has finally achieved an ability to feel something, it is at far too high a cost.
Of course, the problem with studies in ennui is that they have to present the subject of being bored, uninspired, and unmotivated in a compelling way, which is a difficult feat at best. Jim Jarmusch has taken a crack at this topic a few times (such as in “Stranger Than Paradise” and “Permanent Vacation”), but it takes a filmmaker of rare talent to make the monotony of life seem interesting to a viewer. The film takes a really long time to set up the final scene, but refuses to pay it off when it finally arrives: there is no indication of how the aimless Zack has been changed by his actions, or commentary on why people like Zack exist at all. Free of hooks to draw the viewer into Zack’s grey world, “Hole In The Ground” adds little insight to an aspect of the human condition that we’d all rather avoid.