Late one night, David is mourning the death of his wife and daughter when a stranger knocks on the door. The stranger is looking for his own wife and daughter, both which have been gone for three days.
"Out of One's Misery" is a good example of why the short film format is so good when it comes to noticing talent. It's a short film that tells a perfectly decent plot - nothing too unique, with some familiar twists, but absolutely good for the length (more on that later) - but really serves more as a showcase of talent from several people involved. Short length can make you notice certain things in the production quality that you don't forget about before the movie is over. This works both ways, but I at the same time a poorly made short film is excused. A really well made short film, however, stands out even among feature films at times. "Out of One's Misery" is a showcase for its writer/director, the cinematographer and certainly the lead actor.
The story is about David, a grieving husband and father who lost everything. Both his wife and daughter died just a few days ago. As he sits and dwells over his sorrows, someone is knocking on the door. It's a stranger who is also looking for his wife and daughter. David suspects that something is not right, but who is telling the truth?
As I stated, the plot isn't bad by any means, but it seems like your typical short film setup. It's an easy setup with little explanation and it ends with a smaller twist. The plot works because of how they have executed. Even when we can predict upcoming scenes, the short delivers it in a nice psychological mystery. It's in the editing, the sound that messes with David's mind and in David's emotional breakdowns.
Michael Sharpe deserves plenty of credit for crafting this short film, but it is lead actor Pat Dortch that impresses me the most with his powerful performance. He portrays a broken man perfectly and gives the short an emotional touch tat it could've been hurt without. It's surprising to see that Pat has not acted in more projects than he has, but I hope that will change.
"Out of One's Misery" has some good aesthetics. The dark color palette helps sell the sorrow that we find David in. But because the cinematography and editing seems to hold such high standard most of the time, there are some moments where it stands out as almost sloppy in contrast. Saturation and contrasts seem to jump a bit between shots now and then, some sound is slightly muffled and certain sound effects played for effect are abruptly turned off. These are all very small details that I don't think will matter to most, and it barely did for me either. The only reason it was worth bringing it up in a review is because of how well the rest of the short film was made. It is only in contrast to the rest that these felt like something worth mentioning.
Overall, "Out of One's Misery" shows a lot of talent. The story itself is okay but it was within the performances, the visuals and the production quality that I found myself entertained the most. It is because of this that I like to think of it as a showcase of talent. The story is no worse than the majority of shorts though, but maybe a bit traditional in its reveals. This is definitely worth checking out if you have 15 minutes to spare.