By Doug Brunell | April 13, 2008

“Moving in You” is a lot of blurry camera work with on-screen narration that all centers around one man (Jon Aley) and a childhood medical trauma. It’s maudlin at times, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from what is ultimately a very sad short film.

Aley, whom I imagine is the sole creative force behind this, knows how to play up the melancholy; the music alone is enough to put you in a funk. There is more to it, though, than just a depressing score. I don’t know if the story behind this film is true, but I can’t help thinking that someone somewhere feels just like this, and Aley has captured that spirit of isolation and hope perfectly. So why not a better rating?

Aley’s short film knows exactly what it is doing, and it pulls out all the stops in getting there. There are no surprises, however, and based on his other short films I was expecting at least some hint of originality. While still artistic, this is probably his most straightforward narrative and easily the most mainstream of the bunch, which is why it’s also a bit of a letdown. While the artistic, experimental side of his films have been a downfall in the past, this movie could have used more of his signature touches. I don’t think most audiences will mind, however, because that would distract them from the story.

It’s fairly easy to manipulate an audience into a mood of sadness and pity, and Aley took the easy way out. He didn’t force himself to cover new ground or even take any stylized risks (the out-of-focus look of much of the film is as risky as it gets, and that’s nothing all that spectacular). Of course, Aley could have just as easily ruined the power of the film by adding too much of his quirky style to it, but a little in this case would have gone a long way.

Overall, it’s a solid, but standard short. It won’t change your life, but you won’t feel like you wasted your time, either, and at this point with Aley that’s about as much as you can hope for.

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