Lance is on a journey from his countryside home with his cat, taking her to the vets. She doesn’t have a lot of time left, so what else would be on Lance’s mind than the inevitable end? As Lance wanders aloud about how to comprehend the expectation of death, Kevin Doyle has an excellent opportunity to stretch his legs as an actor.
Lynda Reiss has experience as props master on films dating back to the early 90s, and her art department skills are put to good use in her first directorial effort. With the subject always slap bang in the middle of the shot, the framing is artistic in its lack of complication. Everything is perfectly placed, but the precision is subtle to allow Doyle to own the show, which he does.
The ending is signposted almost from the very beginning, leaving the interest to be gathered from the reasoning. And fortunately, with astute observations by scribe John Craine, there is enough here to more than hold our attention. The mechanic of the film copies that of Forrest Gump – a man telling stories to any stranger that will listen. It is a structure that totally works, and the inherent northern English twang with which Doyle delivers his lines recall other successful single actor pieces: Locke and The Pyramid Texts. With every story Lance tells, we are treated to short visual asides evoking the look of early cinema – square shots in black and white. There is a level of humour here, a light hearted treatment of dark material that works wonders coupled with Lance’s monologue.
As a film about death, Ready to Go sidesteps the clichés of heavy meditations like The Seventh Seal, but refuses to pull any more punches than Bergman’s masterpiece. It is the simplicity in the writing, the relatability and the sad inevitability of loneliness that allows the film to succeed. Reiss, Craine, and Doyle make a formidable team, and it is worth keeping an eye on them as they hopefully make a move towards features.
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