Some weeks I really hate that I’ve subjected myself to this little project. Those weeks are the Fever Lake weeks. But then sometimes I get graced with a gift: something genuinely worth watching, and with this week’s short film – a film actually worth recommending.
Pity is a 2014 short film directed by John Pata, the director of the fabulous Dead Weight. At this point in WWW, I’ve certainly watched a lot of short films and anthologies, all with varied amounts of success. Pity is head and shoulders above them all in both story and overall quality.
The story comes from the liner notes of a Pig Destroyer album titled Prowler in the Yard, it’s a sinister tale of a man’s obsession with a woman. The opening shot shows a lone car parked in the rain. A man sits waiting in an elementary school parking lot across from a white house. The voice-over explains that he took a car from work in order to remain anonymous. The house belongs to the mother of the man’s presumably ex-girlfriend. The sinister voice-over delivers an unsettling look into the prowler’s mind, and bit by bit the story grips you like a narrator in an Edgar Allan Poe story.
Jake Martin, who plays the anonymous man, is like Mickey Rourke’s Marv from Sin City. You know, if Marv had decided to seek revenge in a touch more sinister manner. He switches between calmly watching the woman in the window to losing his grasp on his own reality. He’s does everything with his right hand: picking up a cigarette and lighting it. When the camera pans over to a bloody mess of flesh he says to us (or himself), “Seven digits: one for each day we’ve been apart.”
It’s the thrill of the vague details given in the story that makes what is unfolding so compelling. But the simplicity of the story is only complimented by the beauty of what’s on the screen. Everything happens within the constraints of the car, and when the film ends – it leaves you with absolutely no answers. And that’s fantastic.
This is seven-minutes of incredibly built-up suspenseful hell. And I mean this in every good way possible. I’ve become a solid believer in Pata’s skills as a filmmaker. Dead Weight still remains a highlight in these long-dark weeks of Wicked Wisconsin Wednesday. Though, I’m not sure how much of a compliment that is when the competition includes Black Cadillac. But Pity truly delivers a short film that puts a panic in your stomach, filling the viewer with a fantastic dread of not knowing answer to the question “what happens next?”