I am a believer. To be clear, I am not someone who goes to church on Sundays, or even holidays. I don’t associate with any religion in particular, or what one may consider a fanatic. But I do believe in something. I believe our presence in this universe is more than a coincidental collision, something we likely won’t understand until well after we leave. Which means, I suppose, I believe in (or hope there is) some sort of afterlife. This quote from South Park creator Trey Parker rings especially true to me:
“Basically… out of all the ridiculous religion stories which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous—the silliest one I’ve ever heard is, ‘Yeah… there’s this big giant universe and it’s expanding, it’s all gonna collapse on itself and we’re all just here just ’cause… just ‘cause’. That, to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever”
This isn’t meant to be persuasive, preachy, or an attempt to convert anyone. These are just my beliefs. And I share them because, as I watched Simon Drake’s Lost Angel, it occurred to me that to fully embrace this movie, some form of acceptance might be required.
Lost Angel tells the story of a young woman, Lisa, played by Sascha Harman, who returns to her quiet, small hometown after the tragic death of her sister. While most involved are ready to write it down as the suicide it appears to be, Lisa is unconvinced. This begins a slow investigation into the details surrounding her sister’s death. The pace is purposeful. As the plot unfolds, the movie also digs into Lisa’s broken life.
Early on in the film, the audience is introduced to a male counterpart, Rich (Fintan Shevlin), who will come to be the most valuable asset throughout her investigation. Unfortunately for her, Rich is also dead. The more Lisa and Rich untangle this web of deceit the more dangerous it becomes.
Ultimately, this is a story of loss, and how we recover from it. The murder investigation isn’t unimportant, but it definitely takes a backseat to Lisa’s transformation. Her arc is the biggest success of the film. There are many aspects of this film that deserve praise. Both Harman and Shevlin, who carry most of the film, know their characters and deliver consistent and believable performances. There is a slight lost thread in the middle of the film when we learn that Rich caught a glimpse of Lisa when he was living, suggesting that maybe there are more than platonic motivations inspiring his assistance of Lisa. Strangely, that thread ultimately goes nowhere. Nevertheless, the relationship between Lisa and Rich is far more good than bad. And Drake brings alive this dreary universe he created alive. The vibe of the film’s small town echoes the mood of the characters. Everything works in unison to tell a story. But, most of all, the film nails each beat of what it’s like to lose someone: the pain, the loneliness, the way we question life. They nail it all.
My favorite sequence in the film is a moment in the climax that pays off a seemingly innocuous piece of dialogue from the first act. Lisa describes the people she’s lost to Rich and laments how with some of them, she can’t even picture them in her mind anymore. “They’re blurry”, she describes them. At the end of the movie, as her showdown with the antagonist comes to an end and he chokes the life out of her, she spends some time in a place with the people she’s lost, including Rich. For a moment, they are as clear as day. They’re right there waiting for her. But Lisa turns her back to them, not ready to join them, and as she steps towards the light of the living, the loved ones she’s lost return to the blurry state in her mind.
At the end of the day, no matter what is waiting for us when our day has come, this is the life we have. At least, that’s what Lisa decided. She’s going to make the most of her chance. Shouldn’t we all?
Lost Angel will be released on Video On Demand and Digital platforms on March 15, 2022.