Daniel James Dismuke
Daniel James Dismuke
As is often the case, the true test of one's faith in God is measured by the devastation of the events within their life. Stories of devout believers deciding against accepting that there is a higher power after a horrific event are countless. If God is good - why does he allow such evil things to happen to his creation by his creations? Generally, these thoughts are followed closely by the pondering of such unforgiving rules in order to be "loved." In Daniel James Dismuke's short film "AAgnostic," these questions are asked by the film's protagonist, Grace, after suffering an incredibly painful loss and turning to alcohol to numb the pain.
The film starts during a support group where the viewer meets Grace and is quickly brought up to speed on her life and recent tragedy. Without outright saying it, the host of the group basically echoes the words many, many people have come to know and hate: It's all part of God's plan. The best things in life, as well as the worst, all shape us into who we were meant to be. After this meeting, Grace ends up in a satanic worship center and meets a bartender with whom she awkwardly strikes up a conversation. I won't spill all the beans, but the dialogue between the two makes up the majority of the film - and it's a good conversation. Clocking in at under twenty minutes, "AAgnostic" offers no reason you shouldn't check out this short film. Come for the premise and stay for the conversation.
Visually, "AAgnostic" offers a clean cut, no bells, and whistles experience that gets the job done while keeping the focus on the content itself. With that said, good performances and dialog are needed with this type of production, and let me tell you ... "AAgnostic" delivers the goods. A film that is based on a deep conversation may not sound all that exciting on the surface - but this title is anything but boring. My only real questions involved the "invite" to the satanic temple itself. Where did Grace get the card from? And why? After watching the film, you may think that the "why" is obvious - but then you realize that it's not so obvious at all. In a film that dabbles in what some would consider the supernatural - God and the Devil - is "AAgnostic" really a supernatural drama?
At the end of the day, one thing is clear - this was a great short film. It manages to remain grounded while discussing faith and spirituality and offers its viewers some excellent performances with a story you can really dig into if you want. What more can be said? Fantastic job - Daniel James Dismuke and his troupe have created a winner. One hundred percent.