The theme of drug addiction is so popular that it has become a challenge for any director who is interested in this abyssal side of the individual. More precisely, due to countless cinematic references based on this subject, filmmakers are even more compelled to find an original way of rendering modern human interaction with narcotics’ temptation, addressing a wide range of visual and narrative styles that oscillate between tragic and comic. With ‘Don’t Look, I’m Dying‘, Justin Lynk manages to place his aesthetics somewhere between these two extremes, rendering the bittersweet experience of a young man who suffers a panic attack after consuming a hallucinogenic herb during a party. Even though this short film respects the direct descendance of Danny Boyle’s directorial vision (Trainspotting), without, however, interfering with the subtle miserabilism mechanics by capturing the interconnections specific to some disadvantaged social groups, Justin Lynk’s cinematic project is a light, but not less dramatic, visual experience about the guilty pleasures of a generation for which the rebellious escape from the narrow perimeter of reality has become a kind of social norm.
When, during a party, the protagonist yields to a person’s insistence on having a smoke, his mind is going crazy. Thus, the central character begins to have a dialogue with himself, through which his inner speech feeds his senses with adrenaline. After spontaneous nervous hyperexcitability states make him consume energy in vain, turning without stopping in a circle, paranoia and fear of death overwhelm him to the limit of physical and mental exhaustion.
Although the director is not interested in a deeper exploration of the biographical and emotional background of the protagonist, reducing the narrative stakes of this product to a relatively superficial content (fortunately, the filmmaker avoids turning his visual experiment in a facile moralizing clip), ‘Don’t Look, I’m Dying’ is a dynamic collage of montage techniques that, on one hand, manages to induce the spectator. if not a cathartic, then a pleasant experience, through a fine balance between humour and dramatism. Thus, the alternation of several visual grammars means such as jump-cuts, grotesque close-ups, or hypnotic slow-motion sequences creates an interesting atmosphere that, together with the internal discursive flow of the protagonist’s voice over, compresses a series of contradictory states in a short and effervescent cinematic project. Without being a revolutionary landmark in drug-related filmography, Justin Lynk’s short film is still a bittersweet experiment about the temptations of the current world that we are struggling to escape from. Sometimes, at any price.