The Ego Death
The Ego Death
2016. Directed by Ludvig Gur
A stripped down examination of a divorcee's inner turmoil told from within, The Ego Death is a surprisingly tricky story about the crucible of loneliness.
Jonas is a self important man who's wife has left him for a younger lover. He spends his days in solitude, grappling with his entitlement, believing that his only companion is his grief. After confronting his wife and being rebuked yet again, Jonas' ego takes on a mind of its own, becoming the broken man's only source of solace and possibly the vehicle of his destruction.
Gur's script is well done. In ten short minutes, he manages to chronicle Jonas' journey of self discovery from the inside out, taking the all too familiar tropes of heartbreak and twisting them into a self inflicted duel between the heart and mind. Gordon Woodard as Jonas delivers a delightfully familiar performance as the human board on which the game is being played. His ability to convey the stages of grief is frightening and even comical at times. Evan, played by Robert Prowse is an element of the ego and his turn is fresh and unpredictable. In what could have easily been a devious role, Prowse handles with a sense of inevitability, mimicking the bereft thoughts that fill one's mind when they experience loss with chilling accuracy.
What begins as a Repulsion like odyssey quickly becomes it's own story on reflection and finding peace. Adam Leijon's crisp black and white cinematography manages to capture Jonas' evolution while also employing slick angles and lonely compositions that enhance this moody sojourn. One of my favorite parts of the film was noticing all of the various clues and subtle nods that hide in almost every frame. On the surface, this might come across as a pedantic homage, but The Ego Death has a very grounded sense of self. It's evident that the director put a lot of himself into this story and the result of a genuinely pleasing release upon it's conclusion. While other films tackle themes of depression via extremities, The Ego Death keeps everything within Jonas' own mind, thus allowing the playfully vicious imagery to evoke a sense of familiarity with the viewer.
Coming soon to a film festival near you, The Ego Death is a short film that takes a fresh approach to a genre overcrowded with platitudes by showing one man's self entitled apocalypse through the lens of his psyche rather than his surroundings. A remarkable brief experience, Ludvig Gur demonstrates that he has no problem putting his soul into his work and I'm eager to view what else he has to offer. This is the kind of film that reminds you what it's all about: the human experience.