"A journey for love..."
Take2IndieReview | May 23, 2020

T2IR Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

Writer, Director and Producer Ian Harrington takes his audience on a visually stunning journey in his sci-fi short film – SENTRIS.

Harrington explores the unbreakable bond between a Father (Troy Dillinger) and his Daughter Caroline (Chynna Walker) – unbreakable still after years of the father being clinically brain dead.

The film taps into the message of love – and loss.¬† What if we had the possibility of being with a traumatically injured loved one –¬†again.¬† How far we are willing to go – given the chance – to be with that person?¬† ¬†What would we risk – if there was no guarantee?

Dr. Fletcher (Ernest Keith Walker) states to Caroline “This technology, if it works like they say it does, this will be the closest thing to a miracle.¬† You can hold him again, you can sit with him, have a conversation every bit as real as the one we’re having right now”.¬† “OR (Caroline replies) I can be lobotomized”.¬† Caroline is told she must make her decision in 24 hours.

The dynamics of the family unit are explored.¬† Caroline refers to her mom as a “crazy Jesus freak bitch.”¬† After Caroline hangs up on her mother, her brother (Chris Cimperman) comes to check on her.¬† The beginning of the scene seems slightly disconnected but reconnects beautifully during their¬†dinner scene together.¬† There’s always someone in the family that feels the burden of loss and responsibility the most.¬† In this poignant scene Caroline feels it’s just her – til the brother shares how the loss of their father has affected him – “You think you’re the only one who misses dad?”¬† Caroline expresses her torment – “what if dad is in there?”

The simple, yet futuristic set design (Tony Barber) brings the audience into a time that we can only imagine.¬† It’s the simplicity that beautifully connects you to the heart of the story and the ensemble of actors who are telling it.¬† Rich, stand out performances by Walker as Caroline as well as¬†Aubyn Philabaum as Elena – the creator of SENTRIS.

Elena explains her personal connection to Synesthesia – a neurological condition that causes the brain to process data in the form of several senses at once.¬† She states this is her inspiration for creating SENTRIS.¬† “You will quite literally, Caroline, be sharing senses with another human being – in this case – your father.” ¬† What’s interesting about Elena’s character is that you’re not sure if she’s friend – or foe.

The urgency and anxiousness that Caroline carried throughout the film was missing when she first meets Elena.¬† Even though she made her decision, Caroline’s character felt too lax in Elena’s strong presence – especially for the uncertainty that awaited her.

SENTRIS is a film of high caliber – especially for a short film.¬† The Cinematagrophy (Mitch Ahrens) is visually captivating with the choice of camera movements and set up shots.¬† This creates an edginess which represents Caroline’s emotional turmoil.¬† The introduction of Elena to the audience is an exceptional shot.¬† Score (Justin Bates) was perfect in carrying the emotional throughline.¬† The other elements of the film –¬†Editor (Kyle Bronson), VFX Artist (Thomas Tamura), Sound Design/Mixing (Justin Bates), Colorist (Dan Edwards) make for a beautiful piece of storytelling.

Harrington creates an ending that leaves you wanting more.¬† What if the possibility exists that someday we can reconnect with a loved one – what would that look like?¬† Perhaps Dr. Fletcher already answers that question for all of us –¬†“Don’t mistake this moment for anything other than a gift.”