Written and Directed by
Marc Van Osdale
Gabe Fremuth, Brian O'Hara, Lindsay Lamb, Elizabeth Closter
"My Last Day" Review
Written and directed by Emerson College film student Marc Van Osdale, My Last Day is a promising dramatic short about a young man, Tom (Gabe Fremuth), who toils away under the heavy-handed direction of his liquor store boss, Jason (Brian O'Hara). When he gets humiliated by Jason one too many times, Tom begins to fantasize about what could end up being his boss's last day.
Could fantasy become reality?
The strength of My Last Day is in its simple yet inventively written script that quickly establishes the tension between Tom and Jason, heightened when Tom attempts to flirt with two young female customers only to have his efforts squelched by Jason in a particularly embarrassing fashion. Because My Last Day has a running time of a mere 16:06, Van Osdale is tasked with creating a believable tension that will support the dramatic heights to which he takes his script. While he's not entirely successful in accomplishing this task, Van Osdale wisely avoids taking the overly dramatic approach and instead infuses Tom with the sort of weariness that indicates a young man who has been worn down over time. Gabe Fremuth doesn't so much play Tom as someone who has been excessively abused, but rather as someone who has been worn down. When Tom finally starts to crack, it doesn't feel impulsive so much as it feels inevitable. This approach plays softer, perhaps, than would heightened drama but ultimately it's far more convincing in the course of the film's 16 minutes.
Both Fremuth and co-lead Brian O'Hara do a nice job of portraying a tense, drawn out relationship that feels more awkward and uncomfortable than actually abusive. Where the film falls a bit short is in never really illustrating anything that would truly exacerbate the tension. Was Tom simply past the point where every single request became one request too many? It's hard to tell, but at least what unfolds onscreen for Jason is devoid, for the most part, of anything remotely demanding, humiliating or abusive. The way it unfolds almost makes it seem as if Tom were more mentally unstable rather than reacting to an extended period of abuse and humiliation.
D.P. Steve Van Osdale's camera work is rock solid, while Gabe Albright's production design nicely captures the look and feel of your standard neighborhood liquore store. The original music from Sandra Morales Santoro is fine, though a bit heavy-handed at times considering the film's tone and pacing.
While My Last Day isn't quite a home run for writer/director Marc Van Osdale, it is a promising short film for a promising young film student.