28 November 2017 | contact-742-500835
Derek and Vinny are like the reverse Cain and Abel, for these brothers battle over one saving the other from depression.
A battle between brothers, a story as old as time. However, Derek and Vinny are the reverse Cain and Abel, for one is trying to save the other one's life against his own wishes. This is not the first time Derek has attempted suicide; he has tried it before going as far back as when he was thirteen. Derek has had to carry with him this inexplicable pain that only makes sense to him but baffles everyone else around him. Vinny can't seem to understand why his brother would want to end his own life, since from his own point of view Derek has everything he could ever want: a great job, loads of money and success all while Vinny himself has a shitty job (in his own words) and by all accounts he should be the one depressed instead. Derek's like a fish trying to swim out of a fishbowl and being constantly put back, he has one goal in mind and that's to end it all by whatever means necessary. Vinny just doesn't get it, to him his brother is now safe and "cured", to his eyes he only had a rough batch but now he's up and running and surely he won't attempt to end himself anymore, but he couldn't be any more wrong. Derek's almost like the Wile E. Coyote, if the Wile E. Coyote failed at trying to kill himself, his attempts are constantly thwarted and he becomes frustrated by his failure to soothe the pain with what he sees as mercy. Derek has his work cut out for himself, he feels it's his responsibility to keep his brother alive by constantly keeping vigil, making sure he doesn't try it again. Derek has tried different methods to achieve his ultimate goal, but he's constantly thwarted and his frustration begins to show, he knows that perhaps his prickly attitude will help push his brother away. But blood is still stronger and so Vinny stays even if it gets harder and harder to support his brother despite the constant abuse. And so, we arrive at a battle between these two brothers where one wants to safe the other and the other wants none of it. Medication has only made it worse, one pill to keep you away from the blues, but that pill makes you gain weight, which throws you back into depression and a new pill to further suppress the monster, but then you become impotent and makes you more depressed. It's like warfare that keeps feeding the flames and the fire will never get put-out. As for Vinny, we can see him try, he goes the distance with his brother, at first he tries to understand him but then he realizes that no one can understand what he's going through, he call him out, calls him selfish and entitled. And maybe Derek really is entitled, and some would say "just let him do it and get it over with", but we know Vinny is not going let go, no matter how hard his brother makes it for him, and Derek is not going to back-down until he finally wins by losing. Who'll win? To find out would be like finally knowing what happens when the immovable object meets the unstoppable force. But one things for sure, if Derek gets away with it, Depression gets to claim one more victim.
TO BE SAVED is written by Jeff Locker (who plays the suicidal Derek) and is directed by Brent Harvey who is himself an actor, which is something that shows as this is a short-film that is drama in its purest form. Some short films are displays of world-building skills by the filmmakers, or a showcase of a clever high concept that attempts to sell a feature length film. But then there's the more old-school filmmaking showcases, and this is an example of narrative at its most grounded and relatable. This film depicts a harrowing battle where the stakes are even larger than "saving the world", these stakes are personal and painful. It's as simple two actors and dialogue, yet there's few things as powerful as seeing two actors going at it, drawing us into their world through empathy and performances so searing that we feel we stumbled into a real argument between real brothers. TO BE SAVED manages to convey exactly how it feels to try to save someone who doesn't want to be saved. The exhaustion, the constant push and pull, how one party seems almost possessed and irrational by how much he or she wants to put an end to their own lives and the absolute fear and dread that comes with knowing that if we lower our guards for a second our loved one will be gone, and that we imagine the guilt awaiting us once they do so, because we know we could have kept them from doing so if we had done "more". But like this short-film shows us, doing "more" sometimes is futile, if the other person just doesn't want to keep on living. It's a tough watch, but then again that's why it succeeds, because its depiction of depression and unconditional love ring true. Brent Harvey uses his own training as an actor to help his cast inhabit these people and the result is a fantastic duel between performers. Locker does fantastic work portraying a man who seems almost possessed by a parasite that sucks the will to live out of him and compels him to be the worst version of himself, knowing that this is just one more method to finally get his brother to leave him alone so he can finish what he started, but then there's this pain that only he knows what it feels like. Peter Capella as Vinny is the selfless brother who will not give up when it comes to saving his brother, no matter how hard Derek makes it on him. He's his brother and he won't fail him."