Baker is a reclusive person. His look, his lifestyle, and his brooding personality. As a matter of fact? Baker is the very definition of a brooding individual. Seemingly, his daily routine consists of chopping wood and watching game shows. Rinse and repeat - until a new family moves in. It's only when Harrison, the young boy living next door, shows up looking to help out with chores, that Baker slowly comes out of his shell. Just a little - but enough to encourage the small boy to keep trying. And then, because of a domestic situation, Harrison finally becomes accepted by Baker. Sort of. It's at this point, right when I felt on the cusp of a big reveal, the film ended with an ominous two words uttered by Baker himself. Those two words? You'll have to watch and find out.
This was a strange film in the sense it doesn't really feel like a film at all. More like the prelude to a television show or something of that sort. Baker's loner image is conveyed excellently - yet no answers are given as to the reasons he is how he is. I had waves of ideas regarding what was going on within this film. Was Baker simply the definition of a loner? Was he racist? Visions of Clint Eastwood's film "Gran Torino" kept popping into my head, and Andrew Huggins film surely fit the profile. It's only during the final act I began thinking Baker was preparing for the end of the world. Maybe he was, considering that final closing shot. The truth about "Soul Bones" is that there really isn't a story here. Aside from what I've written above. There was no closure. At all. Even as an episode of something larger, there should have been some form of conclusion - even if it's a mini plot. I can't think of any show where something hasn't been achieved by the ending of the episode. "Soul Bones" feels like it just stops. As if someone forgot to render out the second half of the film. And yet... it was still an entertaining piece. Even though it felt unfinished. More on that below.
In case you're wondering how I could write that a short film felt unfinished, yet still receive an above average rating, I'll attempt to answer right here. It's the characters and the production itself. Without question, the atmosphere is quite tense. You're literally waiting for something big to happen all the time. There is also the excellent acting within the film. Especially from Zach Ball, who plays Baker. He has a powerful screen presence. A quality that just draws you in. In the main supporting roll is Lucien Rattray as Harrison - who has no problems keeping pace with his co-star. So by combining the great performances by all the cast, with some good camera work and an excellent - and eerie - background score, and you end up with a short film that sucks you in until the credits roll. Who needs a complete story when you still can't look away! Right?
When it's all said and done, "Soul Bones" reels you in and doesn't let go. It does matter that this only feels like a prelude to a larger story, but what also matters is that I wanted to continue watching until the bitter end. Pun intended. For all that it took to keep me entertained until the end, I believe "Soul Bones" earns a solid three stars. No question about that. Had a more visible conclusion been reached? Another story altogether.