I'm not going to lie. I'm quite sure the impact of this short film has a lot to do with the timing, and the state of things in the world today. As of this writing, we're all caught in the middle of this global mess and I'm pretty sure more than a few of us are going quite stir crazy - and most recognize that severe depression isn't that far behind. COVID-19 is the event we'll all be talking about for decades to come, but the key takeaway here is that we'll still be talking about it. There are those who say this is the beginning of the end - and to those people, Jesse Edwards short film is not for you. Or perhaps it is? Perhaps "Distance" will spark the flames of hope within the doomsday sayers, and fan them to bonfire status. Perhaps...
Continuing down that path of truth I must also confess that as I started "Distance" playing, I didn't have a whole lot of hope. With quarantine measures taking place everywhere it seems, I expected "Distance" to be a project of boredom - something hacked together to kill some time, and take full advantage of the current situation. That's not to say I expected the worst film ever, or that people shouldn't be letting their creative sides take over during these crazy times - only to say I really hoped "Distance" was at least watchable. What I got was a complete system shock and by the end of the film, I was more than a tad emotional. My wife affectionately tells me I have a stone heart and walls for miles, so the fact this film caused a bubble to form in my throat told me one thing - this was a truly great short film. And just so we're clear, "Distance" does have its sad moments, but the real emotional hijacker here is really a one-word wonder. Hope. The excellent mix of being scared, sadness, and hope work so damn well together. I truly believe that almost anyone, no matter their genre preference, will leave this film feeling something - and it just so happens that "Distance" is free to watch.
Technically, "Distance" leaves pretty much nothing to complain about. Going back to what I wrote above, my expectations were low when considering the possible audio and visual aspects of this film - and I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I realized that wasn't going to be the case. Pretty much straight away I knew this production was going to look and sound great, and I was proved right. More to the point however, is that Edwards and his troupe actually managed to capture the very essence of the COVID-19 quarantine. It's really hard to write about because it's not something I can easily put into words - I simply don't have the ability. It's not the look alone, it's not the great acting or the fact that "Distance" is very slick with its edits - it's that this pandemic and the thoughts and feelings of so many, are captured so well. The blunt truth is that "Distance" isn't a cheap, gimmicky production that uses the current pandemic as a promotional tool for the film - it's actually a great and relevant movie. Period.
At the end of the day, there's nothing else I can really say here. I've awarded "Distance" with a rare four and a half star rating - and firmly believe it deserves every single point of those stars. This is a short film that not only deserves to be seen, but should definitely be seen. It's not so much a story - because we're all living it! It's more like a confirmation that even the most naturally reclusive person is not alone in this mess. "Distance" is a message of hope, and the link to watch it is below. Four and a half stars - what are you waiting for?