One of the greatest things about being known for reviewing indie films is that it has opened the door to a growing number of films arriving in my mailbox (both electronic and at the end of my driveway) of a number of films directed by film students.
If I Am Your Mirror is the latest example.
Co-written and directed by Garrett DeHart for his graduate thesis at Georgia State University, If I Am Your Mirror is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" yet very clearly possessing of a vision and voice all its own. Rather than taking the film through the festival circuit, DeHart is pursuing web-based distribution through the film as a way to make sure the film is seen and, I'm sure, also begin the wonderful journey of building a filmmaking name for himself.
It should work.
If I Am Your Mirror is a darkly inspired film with a gothic sensibility set within an entirely different century as the story centers around a psychologically scarred veteran (Larry Holden, Memento and Batman Begins) who is sitting in a post-Civil War jail awaiting the carrying out of his death sentence. As part of his delusional world, he seeks revenge on a mysterious hellfire and damnation preacher with an evil eye who somehow plays into his entire reality or whatever's left of his reality.
If I Am Your Mirror is clearly a passion project for DeHart, and it says quite a bit about the director's talent that he attracted the cooperation of Larry Holden as a key player in the film. The film was first filmed in live action with a post-production rotoscope animation treatment that gives the film an appearance that will resonate deeply with Linklater fans or, for that matter, with anyone who admires the more experimental and emotionally resonant side of animation.
The film's visual style also brought to mind certain elements of Italian horror, horror with the perfect weaving together of histrionic artistry and broad emotion. For maximum impact, I highly recommend watching the film with the lights turned out and, perhaps, a candle flickering in the background.
In fact, that's what I'm going to do again right now.