A young man confronts with haunting moments of paranoia. Attending his psychiatry sessions seems useless as the image of a mysterious silhouette of a man wearing a black coat insistently appears in his dreams. When Alex, the young man, finally decides to face his fears a strange truth will emerge making him doubt reality itself.
Jon Housholder’s ‘Withdrawn in Trepidation’ approaches the delicate issue of mental diseases among young people in America. Alex is the archetype of such a case. Caught in between the reality that has become a hassle to face and his episodes of paranoia, dealing with his own life becomes a real struggle for him. His ‘visions’ and reveries come to obsess him and take the form of a proper chimera chasing him closely. The film highlights the alteration of reality experienced by Alex pointing to an entire generation mentally ‘imprisoned’ by a similar condition.
Beautifully shot and lyrically conceptualised through cinematography – which is carefully designed to reflect the special psychical circumstances borne by the mentally ill young people by using some close-up shots manipulating the beams and the sun light really well and especially some Snorri cam rig techniques – the director endows ‘Withdrawn in Trepidation’ with a really intimate and personal look .It makes it hard for the audience not to get engaged with the story and its character. This does not only contribute to the original cinematic look of Jon Housholder’s short but it is also effective in driving emotion and stimulate the public’s empathy.
Intended to be an awareness film – with an effect similar to those charity films we often see sometimes on TV (as the director himself subtly suggested) – ‘Withdrawn in Trepidation’ doesn’t look like one at all, powerfully distinguishing itself from the ‘mainstream’ as a rather art-house film.
With a discreet, surreal flavour and a slightly mystical / esoteric feel, this one is a unique exploration of the yet undeciphered corners of human mind. A journey through a mind maze like no other we’ve seen. The poetic approach by the use of the camera, and the well imagined, twisted script that is of an almost “Baudelairean” symbolism, raise ‘Withdrawn in Trepidation’’s value much above its peers’, placing Jon Housholder’s film on a very distinct artistic scale that very much addresses to the emotional intelligence of the viewer.
If you are an art lover and a person of profound feelings this one is definitely for you.