Clarity and The Human Experience Of Alzheimer’s
A Film Review of “Clarity” and the Human Experience Of Alzheimer’s
By John Saeger
The short film Clarity reveals the struggles of a damaged family whose patriarch is battling Alzheimer’s. Directed by Roy Arwas, the twenty-minute film explores how family and patients experience different emotions that are hampered by the disease. The potent movie intertwines an outpouring of anger and frustration with snippets of touching cinema.
The small cast primarily features Chris Browning (Westworld, Ray Donovan) as Richard and Brett Zimmerman (Hawaii Five-0, Grey’s Anatomy) as Tom. Clarity begins as Tom returns to his father’s cluttered residence, which is decorated like Guy Pearce’s body in Memento. Sticky notes provide reminders for the Alzheimer’s-stricken Richard, who can’t even recall his son’s name. The remainder of the movie economically unfolds the family’s previous issues over the course of a single day.
Both actors are phenomenal in their portrayals of the tough circumstances that surround each interaction. Whether it is asking a father to reflect on his past or reminding him of his diner order, both Browning and Zimmerman exploit the tough dynamic with flashes of realism that allow the story to be effective. Watching the pair over the course of a feature-length movie may have been a tall order given the premise, but their acting meshes with an economic story that is well-suited for a shorter project.
Clarity achieves its goal of packing a range of emotion into the condensed format. Arwas (who served as director, writer, producer, and editor of the film) wrote in just enough turns to the story that he succeeds in unfolding the drama over the short format. The filmmaker gave the actors just enough rope to showcase their abilities without straying too far from the premise. Clarity highlights the pain of interacting with someone who is present physically, but struggles with faded cognitive abilities. Conversely, it also reveals the difficulties the person who is dealing with Alzheimer’s experiences in everyday life.
FIlmed in early 2019, Clarity is in the nascent stage of its release and is currently balancing fundraising with a tour through different film festivals. Movie fans interested in following Clarity can find more information here.
About the Author: John Saeger is a music and film writer from Philadelphia. Since 2017 he has been writing his pop-culture blog Long After Dark, a site dedicated to the arts in the City of Brotherly Love and beyond. email/Twitter