Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Language of the Sick" Short Film Thematic But Not Visual

Genre: Drama
Length- 19:56
Company: Get Coned Productions
Website:  Official Facebook

Charlie Fincher (Mitchell Herrin) is a disturbed young man who hides behind a camera and defines his very existence by his ability to capture the world around him on film.  His latest project is a mysterious documentary in which he interviews young women and harasses them until they give up their secrets.

He might have underestimated Rebecca Marie Stylings (Kelsey McCarter), his latest subject . . . and the results of his questioning just might surprise him.


"Language of the Sick" is a short film from Get Coned Productions out of Florida.  Herrin also wrote the screenplay, and his lines are excessively long and wordy and delivered as though he is the bad guy of a film: he tries to be sinister, but the reality is that no one talks like this guy, no one acts like this guy.  As a result, Fincher is a caricature at best, completely phony at worst.

It features one location, and a nondescript one at that, which makes for a claustrophobic film.  Unfortunately, the visuals are exceedingly dry and there's not much to keep the eye moving.

McCarter does the best she can with her role, and after a bumpy beginning she settles into her role and has a few credible, emotional moments. 

"Language of the Sick" is intended as a metafictional commentary on filmmakers and the seemingly odd desire to want to dedicate their lives to recording lies -- or is it truth?  Clearly, Fincher is a little fuzzy on the difference. 

But film is ultimately a visual medium, and there's not much on hand to entertain. 


Writing: 2.5 / 5.  I respect the themes that Herrin incorporates into the script, but ultimately bad dialogue sinks the ship.
Directing: 2 / 5.  Christopher Durand handled directorial duties, and does a serviceable job of presenting what does happen, but that doesn't change the fact that not only is nothing happening onscreen for the bulk of the picture, but on top of that visually there is nothing  going on, either. 
Editing: 3 / 5.  It worked.
Sound/Music: 2.5 / 5.  The dialogue was mostly audible, but there was a definite difference in noise from shot to shot and when Herrin speaks from behind the camera he is very muffled.
Acting: 2 / 5.  McCarter closes the film well but even her performance is rocky to start with, and Herrin is too forced and whispery for his lines to have much of an impact.

Final Grade 2.4 / 5

Don't forget to check out "Language of the Sick" on YouTube or, if you can, get out and see it at a festival screening near you.  When you get done, follow Get Coned Productions on Facebook!

Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!