Fritz Lewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film is beneath a rating to be completely honest.
It's not even so bad that it's funny; it's just purely numbing, and nowhere close to it being in a good way.
I wanted to write something up about this real quick, because it pisses me off to see themes of suicide butchered in movies and TV.
13 Reasons Why, especially in retrospect, really does glorify the fuck out of it, and clearly taking some inspiration from that series with the cassette tape bits, Rock here almost creates propaganda out of it as other reviews have mentioned.
Now, I don't know Chris Farrow at all other than what I've heard others say about him and from a quick glance at his instagram. I'm not here to delegitimize his mental health or anything. I'm just here to say he really made a bad film that doesn't portray and sense of depth or insight into how people become suicidal or grapple with it other than repeatedly showing the central 'character' sit in bathtubs, point guns at himself, and talk about how he wants to die.
Sure, there is a little more variety than that. There was actually one part that got me where he was talking about stopping and thinking about your life if there were no pain, remembering something his mother told him.
Yeah, that kinda hit.
It was at the like 1 hr. 4 minute mark and went on for a couple minutes.
The remaining 85 minutes or so were pretty insufferable though.
And again, from glancing at his profile, he says he really wants to make films for people who are "numb, depressed, suicidal", which is very noble in intentions, but this film is so far from embodying any of that.
I honestly think Chris would have been better off either making a short film that actually had a purpose and a character that didn't just exist to self-pity for 90 minutes OR to make some sort of series where he actually talks about his mental health struggles and try to connect with others via some sort of vlog or podcast.
He tries to incorporate that into like half the runtime of the film, and it just doesn't work.
This is not a film.
And I would be more forgiving, because I literally made shit like this in high school.
I would play like 3 different characters and do weird experimental shit, making excessively overlong stories, have long monologues and voiceovers or what not that are really nothing more than pretentious in retrospect.
But honestly, I put a lot into that. I deep down realized they were pretty shitty, but I tried to be as creative as possible.
I even canceled one of my last projects before moving away to college because it was the epitome of self-pitying cliches and existential pretension.
Unfortunately with Rock, Chris sets his 'professionalism' in stone by selling himself as an experienced filmmaker with tons of background and dedication to the themes he tries to explore. He makes sure we don't judge it as a student film from the opening title card, and to be fair, he's getting what he's asked for.
The only reason this film is 90 minutes is so Chris can be taken seriously.
There are 10 minutes of just driving after the credits to prove this.
Chris, I'm sorry to shit on this, but this film really is a mess.
It's not a love story because the entire plot of you falling in love with a rock feels entirely coincidental and secondary to what you want this film to be about, and when you do show us what you want this film to be about, it's impossible to take it seriously because you just beat us over the head with suicide for so long that it ironically just becomes numbing and self-defeating to the viewer and the entire standing of the film.
You didn't take the time to write any of this, which is apparent, so any sense of empathy or understanding of Travis is completely thrown out the window.
I really encourage you to take a giant step back and make a short film that you actually take time to write and develop; with characters that are thoroughly constructed and deconstructed and shots that are actually planned out.
90 minutes of the reality of a 17 year old through the lens of an iphone with no concern for structure or creating atmosphere or empathy for the audience to connect to isn't raw.
It so fucking amateur, and like many other student films that try to explore topics like these, it fails.
I'm really sorry if you're going through a battle inside your head, so please try harder at making us feel it.