Are You Alright? is a 15-minute Short film that tackles America's work-related trauma and the mental health crisis confining many people to a new stressful reality.
Writer-director Alessio Summerfield's Are You Alright? will grapple ahold of your psyche, sending your emotions to claustrophobic territories. The premise of this Short is structured as just "another day in the office," but soon we realize that our main protagonist, Wallace (a strong Jaan Marion), is trapped in a paranoia world trying to balance his work-life. Wallace seems to be stuck in dream-like sequences torturing his soul. These sequences are fueled with suspense and claustrophobia — we see hundreds of old telephone lines and wires begin to strangle Wallace in an open green field, giving off Lynchian vibes. There are surreal and sinister forces that parallel throughout this Short, thanks to Summerfield's vivid direction.
There are many scenes where there is the numbing sound of a telephone ringing constantly in Wallace's head, slowly making waves into the viewer's subconscious. As the memos, agreements, and reports begin to pile up, suffocating Wallace, he starts to have a mental breakdown. Slowly, we see Wallace lose sight of what's real and what's in his head. This is where Summerfield succeeds, tackling the mental health crisis that is currently grappling our country. A crisis that feels all too real since we are still in the middle of a pandemic with no light at the end of the tunnel. During the last year, new fears and anxieties have run rapidly through individuals, myself included. Summerfield originally started to explore this concept of anger and frustration.
Summerfield's concept began to form through the physical and mental toll that the workplace puts on its employees. The cast and crew of Are You Alright? also helped collaborate with their own stories of stressful workplaces. Some of them even sought out therapy for work-related trauma. We see Wallace go through similar therapy sessions during this Short, trying to heal his broken state of mind. This contemporary Short of trauma comes across all too familiar for many Americans currently struggling in today's capitalistic force. Are You Alright? is smart in balancing both reality and paranoia. The toll of the never-ending workday can sometimes feel both mentally draining and suffocating. Are You Alright? hits the nail on the head with its topic and theme. It's worth your time.
Are You Alright? is Not Rated (NR).
Directed by Alessio Summerfield
Starring Jaan Marion, Ashley Santana, Cliff Mirabella, and Richard Ulrich.
Are You Alright? is available to watch on: https://www.alessiosummerfield.com/current-project
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