Drew Horton‘s short film, Not Like This, is a study in loyalty, love and playing out a doomed routine. A husband (Drew Horton) cares for his increasingly sickly wife (Sarah Malone), who is prone to bloody coughing fits and is on a massive amount of medication. When she needs water, he’s there with a glass. When she needs medication, he’s on top of it. Lunch? You bet.
It’s love, but it’s also automation. He cares, but he’s also distant. Maybe resentful? She’s not dead, yet, but the writing is on the wall and time is running down. There’s not much he can do but be there, silently doing what he can, day in and day out.
I did have some issues with the audio mix. There are few moments of dialogue in the film so you want to hear them when they happen, and particularly early on I had to crank the volume to understand what was being said, which resulted in a pretty shocking experience when an abrasive sound cue came in shortly thereafter. Other than that, however, I didn’t have much issue with the technical side of the film.
Overall, Not Like This can make for a depressing watch, but not a lackluster one. When coupled with the black-and-white cinematography that allows the eyes to revel in the gray areas, as much as the mind can get philosophical about the blurrier elements of a life in decline (and the life that is left behind), the film manages to pack a potent punch. Which is interesting because so much of the film is a somber tone, again love via a detached automation, that you could just as easily find yourself building up a protective wall against the film, much like the husband. I think there’s value in letting this one in, however.
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