Hailey Vest, HaRoon Khan, Thomas Dunbar, Denise Barone
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
"Empty Space" Explores the World of Trauma
Writer/director Goirick Das's 26-minute short film Empty Space is an ambitious effort that explores big themes, both interpersonal and universal ones, within the relatively short span of 26 minutes such as life after trauma, connectedness, meaning, and who everything changes from one day to the next through the randomness of life.
Hailey Vest and HaRoon Khan star as two people whose lives are both connected by and disrupted by a shooting struggle that sends one, Vest's Maelys, into a cycle of immersion into the woes of life and the other, Khan's David, seemingly seeking a magical place as he tries to escape life into the stars.
There are tremendous ideas working here, though Empty Space never quite feels like the motion picture it seems to want to be. Empty Space is far more involving in its second half when the lives of Maelys and David have intertwined again and the two explore new lives in companionship with someone who understands how life has changed for each of them.
The performances are fine, especially that of Vest, whose Maelys is more openly expressive of her almost psychic shift into another human being whose every day, perhaps every moment, is impacted by the random nature of a single traumatic experience that those around her simply fail to understand.
Original music by B.J. Schweinlin is dramatic and impactful, though its volume simply too high as its presence often dominates the story and these characters. Bradley T. Thompson's lensing captures the subtle nature of psychological shifts quite nicely, lingering on little moments with a big impact from the sudden appearance of an unsafe stranger to the mysterious blinking lights of a vehicle parked that would be meaningless to most who've never experienced trauma but become triggers for those who have.
Empty Space is an ambitious, thought-provoking film that doesn't completely land with the impact that one might expect and hope for a film with such powerful, timely themes. Yet, there's some valuable pieces of cinema here that come to life from Thompson's insightful, intuitive lensing to Vest's spirited, inspired performance.
For more information on Empty Space, visit the film's Facebook page linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic