VFF Drive-In 2020: “Curfew”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s an unfortunate fact that many people, as I write this piece, are thinking of suicide one way or another. During the process of taking one’s own life, we don’t know how many of them succeed and how many are saved in the last minute. That last minute can be a turning point for someone to reconsider what could have been the final moment of his or her life.

Written, directed, and acted by Shawn Christensen, Richie is at the final stage of taking his own life. He is already lying down in the bathtub and looking miserable as he continues to bleed out from his wrist. As the water keeps getting darker due to the blood, the phone rings which, luckily, Richie picks up. On the other end of the line is his estranged sister, Maggie, asking him for a rare favor – to look after her daughter, Sophia. The plea of Maggie reaches straight to Richie’s heart that makes him agree to fulfil her request, not realizing this moment is going to change his perspective of life forever.

“Curfew” is a clever short film that explores one man’s life within a short amount of time and sees whether if he can be saved from himself. Richie is a drug addict and he openly tells that to Sophie. As he follows the list of places he can take his niece to, he suddenly remembers about the flipbook he, once as a child, drew, naming the protagonist as “Sophie”. As the two begin bonding, Sophia learns about the reason why Richie was not allowed to visit Sophia.

But all that won’t matter until the moment when Richie ends up being alone with the same individual we found in the beginning. Now the question is, what he will do? Will he celebrate the discovery of a new self or will he put on the accelerator to finish what he was interrupted from in the beginning? And that is something, I am certain, you will want to find out for yourself, without me spoiling such a crucially important film.

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