AlexC999’s review published on Letterboxd:
Student films. Even worse--student SHORT films. Seen one, you've probably seen them all.
The majority of them are "personal experience" stories; where young filmmakers try to relay how they feel, man. Like a...tone poem.
Here's the problem. Most amateur films based on personal experiences are really, really boring. I feel bad saying this, because Fritz says this is based on his experiences with depression. But reality is no defense for fiction.
Having endless pretty shots showing how sad looking the protagonist is doesn't equal depth. But when there is dialogue--it's, in the movie's words, "atrocious." For instance, take the terribly blunt diner scene with the depth of Katy Perry saying she has to say she's fine when she's not.
For your consideration, a list of choice dialogue lines:
"Aside from some pretty atrocious moments, everything's been just feeling a lot more empty, I guess." (I think that's what he said, but the lead is a mush mouth)
"I look around AND I SEE NOTHING. A thousand islands just like me."
"They act like they're a community and they FUCK THE NEXT PERSON!"
"People. They're not the answer to my problems. Relationships aren't either. They all look like the real thing. But they all TASTE the same."
And in case you didn't know exactly why this guy is sad: "DAD SPLIT! FUCKING HARVEY KILLED HIMSELF! AND I WAS GONE. I DON'T TALK TO MY SISTER ANYMORE! I'VE WATCHED MY BEST FRIEND GET HIT BY A FUCKING CAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE!" Remember kids, the more times you say "fuck," the more intense and mature something is.
"Everything is going to work out. EXCEPT IT WON'T!"
"I DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN THIS COLD FUCKING WORLD ANYMORE!"
And my personal favorite: "I just want a COLD HANDSHAKE WITH CARBON MONOXIDE." WHAT?!?
"Moving on isn't easy. I In fact, it's nearly impossible. But every ending is an invitation to greater beginnings."
"I've always been...a PRISONER OF MY OWN MIND."
Wow. Real deep, dawg. Fritz is the Lil Peep of short films. I'm not doubting that he's suffered, but the way he expresses himself is about as deep as the walls the protagonist punches through.
On top of that, these themes about self-destructive loneliness have been done a million times before. Yet, usually other films convey meaning with subtlety or by letting the narrative and actions reveal depth. Take Me Out has the profundity of pot-soaked NYU pop-psychology.
On the filmmaking side, this looks a lot better than most shorts. The lighting and color-correction is slathered on a little heavy, but there was clearly a lot of time spent on portraying a miserable environment (despite the cinematography refusing to let us get a true feel for the city until the very end).
Many of you probably think I'm being too hard on poor Fritz. Maybe I am. But when you make a film, you have to have thick skin to take criticism. And he's already got dozens of his friends posting positive reviews for this anyway. I'm not going to dumb down my actual opinions just because this guy has a LETTERBOXD account. And hey, I honestly wanted to like this. Believe it or not, I make short films myself, so I get the struggles. So hopefully his next film is more than a cinematography demo reel mixed with emo diary entries.