Less is more – we all know that by now. However, when we come across a short film that exemplifies this adage so well, we are completely entranced by the delicacy of the tiniest details. ‘Out of Mind‘ is not a short film for those seeking an elaborate story or flamboyant style. Rather, director Kyle Elliott is the kind of artist who concerns himself with atmosphere and the fragile areas of the human soul. Through his short film, he offers a lesson in what an excellent minimalist stylistic exercise entails. We could say that we are dealing with a project that is based more on emotion-triggering mechanisms that are specific to the “non-verbal” arts. The point is that the story itself appears so simplistic, reduced to minimal discursive interaction, but at the same time, so suggestive that the project seems more like a moving tableau or a “cinematic sonata.” In this case, we are not necessarily discussing a style that reminds us of a music video, but rather a filmic composition that is so discreet and finely balanced that it exudes a tender, magnetic, and euphonic vibe.


However, beyond this stylistic interface, the narrative stakes exist and function as a coagulant that enhances the impact of the entire construct: following a breakup, Barry isolates himself in his apartment, refusing to communicate directly with anyone but continuing to reassure everyone that he has a perfect life. The only person who can persuade Barry to open his heart is Jake, his friend who, despite the distance, manages to bring about a beneficial change through his devotion. There is so much tension and, at the same time, so much implosion in this succinct x-ray of pain that only phone voicemails can bring comfort. Thus, everything becomes an intimate hypostasis of self-destructive loneliness while Kyle Elliott creates a one-character short movie that is not only extremely touching but also very current. By avoiding extreme psychological nuances or dialogue confrontations that would break the authenticity of this calmness, ‘Out of Mind’ addresses physical and emotional distances, haunting silences, and true friendship with disarming naturalness.


For the sensitivity and depth with which it succinctly presents emotional pain with minimal resources, ‘Out of Mind’ was awarded with the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the March 2023 edition of TMFF.