By Phil Hall | September 7, 2012

There is a new one-man-band in indie film, and he is Ohio’s Steve Boatman. In the comic short “Mowing Through Misery,” Boatman plays a frustrated suburbanite at war with lawnmower. Behind the camera, Boatman displays a marvelous level of directing and cinematography skills.

“Mowing Through Misery” is a chapter in the seemingly endless struggle between man and machine. In this case, the tall and lanky Boatman is ready to send his short and squat lawnmower into a grassy feeding frenzy – except that the damn thing won’t start, despite Boatman’s endless efforts. In a dialogue-free display of perseverance, Boatman offers a combination of wide-eyed horror, quite planning and “Expendables”-worthy physical force in his pursuit of a working lawnmower.

Boatman is very funny as an actor, and he gets a lot of mileage out of this relatively simply idea. As a filmmaker (he wrote, directed, produced, edited and filmed this short), his visual sense is more than impressive – particularly the opening credit sequence in which the camera finds its way through the suburbanite’s garden, with an imaginative journey that travels up a thorny stem and ends with a rich, red rose in full bloom. Kevin MacLeod provides an inventive music score that mirrors the anguish of this amusing battle of mechanical power.

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