Addiction is war. When it comes to self inflicted illness there are few rivals. However, to write that drug addiction is self inflicted really only scratches the surface - when so many other factors chime in. We could write that peer pressure contributes. And it does. Realistically though, I would guess that depression, in one form or another, ranks much higher as the gateway to true addiction. This would make drug addiction a side effect of depression. Right? Of course, so many different reasons exist as to why people try hard drugs. I'm sure ranking within the top five would be the actual "high" itself. No matter how you slice it, addiction is a real pain in the ass kind of problem. And it's only getting worse.
To combat this sickness there really isn't a lot of "real" tools. Most programs are set up to treat drug addicts. The only real tool to prevent - is knowledge. To inform would-be users just what to expect. That's where "Grimshaw" enters into the fray. To inform. Cottrell Guidry has scripted up an excellent dramatic short that really does, show us viewers some of the effects of addiction. From the appearances of Brandon's father while high, straight through to the lengths Brandon will go to get the drug. "Grimshaw" easily showcases the change in Brandon, through dialog and visual queues, with his phantom parent. However, that's not all. We see a quick version of the downward spiral ending with a violent outburst. The scary part? This is really only the start. What happens after the credits roll is anybodies guess - as "Grimshaw" is left open ended... kind of.
The performances in "Grimshaw" are really great. Elyes Gabel directs our two leading men to victory with some realistic, and at times brutal, depictions of what life "could" be like for the average addict. The inner struggles. The outward battles. It's all put forth in an easy to understand narrative that although easy to follow, also contains layers of depth for anyone who wishes to dig. The use of chess, as a tool showing us that Brandon, is an intelligent person, was brilliant. Reminding us that hard drug users are not always weak minded individuals. Or at the very least, don't start out that way.
Cottrell Guidry and Cornell Womack also serve as clear reminders that talent, especially when a piece is drama driven, is crucial to keeping us viewers interested in what could otherwise be a rather boring scene. More to the point? Movies that mainly take place in one location definitely need a strong cast to keep things interesting. No problems here. These two nailed it. Capturing the conflicting characters in a scary, real way. So what was I not a big fan of here? Mainly? Some of the technical choices.
The editing style, in this case, lightning fast edits, fit perfectly into the gritty world "Grimshaw" attempts to create. However, they also felt a little like they were hiding a deep dark secret. One that wasn't really much of a secret at all. The jittery, jumpy movement of the camera. Yes folks. We're back to that again. Unstable shots that really... really... could have used a tripod. I understand that motion equals realism, action and grit. But not like this. Even in heavily budgeted studio films, that vomit inducing movement is done well - with expensive production gear. The images move and jump... but don't really jitter. That's really the best way I can describe it. My point is that most of "Grimshaw" bounces around. A lot. It's really hard to watch, especially on a 65" television. Had even half of what I watched been stable... well, that's another story.
At the end of the day, this was a well above average short film that was both entertaining and sad in equal measures. It does the trick by showing us viewers one version of a persons escalating hell through drug use. The performances are first rate. The perspective is solid and in general, "Grimshaw" was just interesting to watch. You can find out more about this film by visiting one of their links. It was without a doubt... time well spent.