Stationary: Review

Stationary: Review

By Rowan Malyon.

Shot in perhaps the most constrictive of settings, Stationary follows two old friends with a loaded history who have ended up on very different paths. 

Written and directed by Louis Chan, the film manages to encompass the worlds of these young people in a way that is rarely seen. Over the course of one afternoon in a parked car, we see former drug dealer Jimmy (Aaron Thomas Ward) confront his childhood friend Che (Rebekah Murrell) about the life she leads, and the dangers of dragging her younger brother down the same road. 

Their friendly reunion is prickly to begin with, but when Che sends her brother home to make a delivery for her, things soon turn violent, and an already fractured relationship is left in limbo. Optimism and bitter reality intertwine and we are not sure if they can ever recover, but there is hope. 

Though these characters appear very different at first glances, it becomes clear that they are two sides of the same coin. While Jimmy is trying to get his life back on track after being arrested, and represents the future and opportunity, Che is still linked to the past, and the cycle that some people can find themselves stuck in.

This film shows how a single, defining choice made when you are young can affect the rest of your life, even though you might have been a completely different person in a completely different set of circumstances. The scarring trauma that Jimmy went through still follows him and affects every decision he makes. 

Onset Short Film “Stationary” • Fresh Look Films • Photo © Daniel D. Moses •

Chan highlights an important and rarely discussed issue, that lower-class kids are often expected to grow up too fast. The characters are in their very early twenties, barely past teenagers, and yet they are painted with the same brush as people much older, as if we hit the age of eighteen and are suddenly adults. 

What is refreshing about this film is that there is no obvious right or wrong. Chan creates two totally opposing figures without there needing to be a protagonist and an antagonist. They actually appear more like the two battling halves of one person’s conscience. We are not told who to agree with, we are simply shown these characters and asked to decide for ourselves.

Crisp and clear and to the point, Stationary depicts the lives of these young people so succinctly and clearly that we feel as if we know them inside out despite the brevity of the film. Their song is one we all know the words to, and yet it is made new and original by incredible actors who keep your attention and hold it tight for the duration of the film. This is a story and set of characters that you cannot help sympathising with even if their experiences differ drastically from your own. 

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