Junkyard (2012)

*. It’s a pretty simple little film really, but then (1) a short film can’t be too complex, at least in terms of plot, and (2) sometimes the best stories really are quite simple.
*. That said, can we say there’s all that much going on here? At one time do conventions and universals become clichés? The idea that we are granted some profound insight into the meaning or shape of our lives in our final moments, for example. Really?
*. Here it at least has a trigger, the reappearance of Anthony, but I doubt it’s that realistic. Shouldn’t we be thinking of other things in our last few firings of consciousness? Or, perhaps even more realistically (and absurdly), be thinking of some trivial thing that never meant much of anything? Must we all imagine Rosebud?
*. We might say the same for the story. Most of us tend to fall away from the friends of our youth. On balance, I think that’s a good thing. People should be encouraged to move on. If he’d recognized Anthony earlier Paul might have said “There but for the grace of God . . .” As it is, what does he feel? Karma paying him back?
*. That’s a question worth asking because it’s about the only moral I draw from the film (aside from the obvious bit about not doing drugs). You shouldn’t rat on your friends. Not because it’s the wrong thing to do but because it’s pointless. The authorities don’t really care (what did Anthony do anyway?) and you’re not going to get anything out of it but a nagging feeling of guilt. In fact, such a betrayal might come back to bite you in the ass years from now.
*. As with any tragedy, fate has its role to play. Paul was only kidding himself if he thought he was escaping the junkyard/projects. We carry such environments with us.
*. I don’t think there’s much more to say than that. Aside from Anthony’s getting hooked on drugs and having a less involved mother there’s no real explanation for how the two friends came to such divergent ends. But then, little changes at an early enough age probably do have magnified effects as we get older.
*. The art and direction by Hisko Hulsing is a nice tonal balance of realism, lending everything a golden glow of nostalgia. You can never go home again though. Indeed, you might not even get the chance.

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