I refuse--refuse!--to be a part of this!
Some movies are hard to watch, but the hardest are the ones are earnestly made and badly executed. Gerry Orz made this movie (with some help) at the age of 10 or 11. He wrote, directed, and starred in it. He has been the victim of bullying and has done a great deal through official channels to bring attention to the issue. I'm sure he's great guy and he's taken his short film to festivals which is laudable. The foundation of the film is sound and interesting. It's the story of a boy bullied by a bully who is bullied by a bully which all results in terrible consequences for all. That's the nicest thing to be said for The Equation of Life (2014). From here on out, I can either patronize him or criticize every element of the film. Why pick one?
I remember writing an illustrated story as a very young person which essentially took my toy bear--I don't think I was imaginative enough to give him a real name--and cast him in the part of Robin Hood from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). That probably says something about my parent's discretion since I was probably seven when I saw the movie, but that's for professionals to deal with at a later date. I aped a form. Gerry clearly knows what earnestness sounds like. "I said good day, sir. I. Said. Good. Day!" But he either can't recreate the patois of the modern bully or bullies have become truly pathetic in their jabs. His cinematographer, Terry Davis, does him no favors with what must have been a very distracting camera style. And the line delivery. Guys, can we get another take? Lets rehearse, clean up the lines, and give it one more shot.
The story begins as though it will be entirely from the perspective of a video diary, but quickly leaves that device to play out the events for our viewing pleasure. That was a mistake. The slow deterioration of this character would be more effective than showing how he thinks his bullies were bullied. Maybe he should have gone with a documentary style, interviewing bullies and getting on firmer foundation there.
A short film, Day of Silence, which is basically The Equation of Life with some bully-defusing techniques and without the later alternative universe or prison scene. There is also two appearances by Orz at the California State Senate.
"The Equation of Life" is on sale October 14, 2014 and is not rated. Drama. Written and directed by Gerry Orz. Starring Gerry Orz.