Jake Bridgman ‘19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Richard Tilkin’s Aside From That makes viewers excruciatingly aware of their mortality. This documentary offers questions about how one chooses to live their life knowing they’re going to die through different anecdotes of close encounters with death.
Through the 60 minute film audiences follow the stories of a woman with ALS, a young Leukemia Survivor, and an Iraq War Veteran. These stories tell how each of their conditions made them aware of how fragile life can be in the right circumstances. The film can be seen as three different biopics with interjected bits from university scholars, writers, and doctors. These cuts of professional opinions offer more of an objective view of what mortality means for those at the brink of death, however, these segments were far and few between. Roughly eighty percent of the film appealed to the emotional side of humanity, while the other twenty attempted to broadcast open-ended philosophical creeds which ultimately seemed unnecessary and random.
Tilkin captivates with the stories of the “protagonists” and with candid street interviews, a tactic of which is not usually found in professional filmmaking. Through these short glimpses into stranger lives, and deep gazes into the protagonists’, viewers are presented with a heightened awareness of other’s mortality and their relationships with death. This conjures from the audience a very sympathetic feeling, but evidently, a removed one as well. However, the way in which he combatted this removed situation was with the candid interviews. By interviewing strangers on the view, he broadened the receptiveness to the ideas of mortality to the general public.
Ultimately, Aside From That offers viewers a contemplative film that processes the idea of mortality on a subjective and objective standpoint without a definite answer. Coupled with beautiful cinematography from Joe Figucia, Aside From That is a beautiful and tragic documentary that adequately addresses the fragility of the human condition.
Overall Grade: B-