David Martyn Conley
David Martyn Conley
PTSD. An acronym that gets thrown around like a baseball lately - with good reason. It really is a thing, and it really can/does have dire consequences. Rewind to a time not so long ago, and people would generally laugh at the concept. Maybe not outright, but essentially, PTSD was considered an excuse for bad form. Nothing more, nothing less. That was until we all smartened up a little, well... most of us anyhow. How could a massively traumatic event, or events, not have an impact on our mental well being?
So now here we are. Swimming in PTSD claims and consequences. Many are legit - and some are not. You can't, with a straight face, say that everyone in the world is honest - right? As for the media today - you'll always find something in film/television with a PTSD back story. Completely saturated. But again - why the hell not? The acceptance of PTSD has created a new form of story. It can give life and create empathy within a story. No longer is the bad guy simply insane... now he has a reason to be insane. A reason to do horrible things that isn't directly his fault. What I love about this short film? David Martyn Conley was doing PTSD before PTSD was the writing go-to. This isn't a new project by any means.
So what happens if the hero of the story, or anti-hero, happens to suffer from PTSD but is also - one hundred percent correct regarding his delusions? Or, I suppose, they would be facts and not delusions at all. Would our hero - knowing he has PTSD, be easily swayed that his facts, were actually delusions created within his mind? Would the knowledge of PTSD within our mentally unbalanced hero, make things worse or better? In a round about kind of way, this is what David Martyn is asking with this short film. The results are dramatic, to say the least. This was a really good short film.
Yet - what really did it for me was the acting. Just to be clear, it's fantastic. David Martyn Conley, Sharon Conley and Travis Estes totally nailed their characters and truthfully, all had some great material to work with - and make shine. As for the technical aspects of this micro budget film? They need no further commenting - because it all just works. "D.N.R." looks and sounds surprisingly good. An accomplishment made all the sweeter considering when this project was created. Mixed in with a good script and that great acting - this was a very easy to enjoy short film.
However, being equally honest - I did notice a slight breakdown within the third act. It was a brief couple minutes, and involved some physical violence. These quick segments just felt off a little. Part of it was the use of some comedic sound effects within the physical violence, but I also feel it was an editing problem. I am being vague, trying to remain spoiler free - but anyone who watches the film will know exactly the areas I'm writing about. I feel like the physical sound effects were stock of some sort. Perhaps part of the condensed fight sounds pack, and some bone crushing sound effect. They just felt... strangely funny, considering the content shown onscreen. That other aspect I felt was in the edit? It all just seemed to hang a little longer than it should have. I can't put my finger on exactly what it was, only that I noticed it.
When it's all said and done, those few moments of awkward length are barely worth mentioning at all. This was still a very tense short film. From start to finish. After a few clicks, I found that it seems as though this was a pilot episode for a project that never took off. It's a real shame. "D.N.R." really was that good. However, even as a stand alone short film this was still a great watch. The open ended nature isn't even really a bad thing. You can still tell the overall story was never finished, but it really doesn't matter much. Hypothetically speaking? With a very quick edit, "D.N.R." really could stand alone as a short film and not a pilot at all. But if there's still hope for a continuation... go for it. That's all I got to say about that. Three and a half out of five stars.