Misery loves company, and this adage holds true in art. While sometimes there is catharsis to be found in a good tragedy, sometimes exploring the ways something or someone can go terribly, irrevocably wrong – with no release or relief in sight – has immense merits and appeal. Sad Little Boy, Antony Spina’s fictional short film, falls into the second category. 

Del is a young man reeling from a breakup. We do not know much about his relationship while it lasted – we just know that ending it hurts terribly. It is implied that his now ex-girlfriend Carla initiated the separation, and Del handles the isolation and reformation of identity by not handling either. Sad Little Boy is a snapshot of his despair: Del’s personality as separate from his romance or breakup is left sketched out, and the fleshed-out anger and hurt that results is a collection of extremes shaped around a hollow human. 

Without much to follow by way of characters, Sad Little Boy stumbles until its midway point, when its astute depictions of behavioural patterns find truth. Jagged camerawork, focusing (or deliberately blurring) the emotional and physical ruin Del feels is his right, draws viewers into his myopia and pain. It is a successful ploy, but stumbles when up against a story rather than a collection of moments. While the conclusion it rushes towards feels inevitable, and has immense precedent in film, theatre, and literature, twenty five minutes may not be enough time for its psychological weight to land. Therefore, the film loses some emotional impact to shock value. 

Sad Little Boy is an unsubtle snapshot of one man’s mental collapse, a negative feedback loop that starts bad and can only implode to worse. While lacking revelations, its depiction of coping mechanisms employed to a blinkered, unquestioned, unhealthy end rings true.

RATING: 3/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Alexander Mandrides, Rich Keeble, Paul Dewdney

DIRECTOR: Antony Spina

WRITER: Antony Spina

SYNOPSIS: Del is reeling from his breakup with Carla, diving from one coping mechanism to another and wondering if anything – even the most extreme – can bring her back.