Sara (Leigh) is a photographer. Her significant other, Garrison Wexler (Carlsten), is a drunken bore. He stays out too late and behaves obnoxiously when he comes home. Tonight, Sara has had enough. She pours out Garrison’s liquor bottles and leaves him to pass out on the couch on his own. She packs her bags with her favorite clothes, pictures, and keepsakes. But there is one thing left to do before she leaves him for good.
She loads his revolver with one bullet. She aims it at his head. She aims lower, at his stomach. Then she changes her mind. Sara is a photographer after all, not a murderer. She props pillows under his head and puts the gun in his hand. She puts his finger by the trigger and positions the gun by his right temple. Then she shoots him . . . with her camera.
Maybe Garrison will jerk in his sleep and pull the trigger. Maybe he will just wake up petrified at having a gun to his head. We never find out.
“Straw” is based on a short story, and it feels literary. It is artful without being pretentious. Perhaps its greatest virtue is that it tells its story with a minimum of dialogue. The original score by Claire Harding, mostly cellos and drum machines, is beautiful. Leigh’s performance is nuanced and restrained. Overall a remarkable, mature short film.