Review: Salvation

Posted By admin on January 29, 2015 4:45pm

By Alexia Amoriello.

At a time when mockumentary-style films are a common occurrence, Mark Gerstorfer’s Salvation stands out for both its visual artistry and unique premise. For a short film that embodies the handheld-camera style, Salvation maintains a marvelously professional quality. The various settings and lighting styles create gorgeous images that indicate that the director is not only skilled but also highly dedicated to his craft. In terms of visual style, Salvation is comparable to the films of Gaspar Noé; only Gerstorfer’s film is far less disturbing and way more accessible.

What makes Salvation a memorable short film is the way in which Gerstorfer tackles a refreshing and relevant topic. In a world where social media runs rampant, the Internet provides people with the opportunity to immortalize themselves even if the method for doing so entails filming their own suicide or making suicidal remarks via various social networking platforms. This is a painfully relevant topic in today’s society, yet it is rarely depicted in works of fiction, which is what makes Salvation refreshingly original. Additionally, the film portrays the way in which people often overlook a loved one’s cry for help.

As different as the film’s premise may be, a film that deals with suicide is almost guaranteed to stir up controversy. Thus, Salvation is likely to be highly misunderstood or criticized for trivializing suicide. However, Salvation absolutely does not trivialize suicide, instead the film reveals the way in which the Internet has resulted in a society where people belittle suicide and people who are suicidal.

In addition, the acting feels genuine and the audience is able to effortlessly grasp an understanding of each character’s individual identity within such a short time frame. All of the main characters are likeable yet flawed, making them feel incredibly realistic while still remaining intriguing to watch. Sarah Kleiner gives a particularly mesmerizing and heartbreaking performance as Dina. At times Salvation is fun and humorous when Andreas, Clemens, and Dina are goofing around. Yet at the same time the film is dark and disconcerting and covers an important and serious subject matter.

The ideas explored in the film are disturbingly significant, and Salvation is arguably the first artistic work to depict these ideas. Gerstorfer’s film is absolutely worth watching for its visual style and powerful thematic concept.

Mark Gerstorfer’s Salvation is an official selection of the New York City Independent Film Festival. The film will be shown at the festival on October 12-18, 2015.

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