[Film Review] Everything's Gonna Be Okay
Written/Directed by Matt Soson
Crooked Grin Productions
Starring; Matt Soson, Erika Soto
A simple hiking trip turns into a life and death nightmare for a young couple, when Jake succumbs to an injury that leaves him unable to walk. Stranded in the middle of nowhere with no technology and no living person in sight Jake resigns to his fate but his girlfriend Alex is determined to find a way to save them both.
The film's title sets the scene and tone about to unfold perfectly. It is that reassuring mantra we utter to ourselves, a comforting lie if you will one so apt for Matt Soson's first sitting in the director's chair.
Survival films are another sub-genre of thriller and horror tales that run the risk of over-saturation much like the found footage and home invasions films. Thankfully Matt Soson's directorial debut deservedly stands out amongst the slew of such films. There are a few similarities between Danny Boyle's epic '127 Hours', and Soson's foray into the genre - Jake is reckless and presumptive (much like Aron Ralston) leaving his and Alex's means of communication behind, and ignoring his life threatening injury. It's hard to completely sympathise yet invariably we do with stirring performances from both Soson and his co-star Erika Soto as Jake's girlfriend Alex, whose desperate panic and determination to survive brilliantly contrasts with Jake's sense of lost hope. The tension and bickering makes the couple's life threatening predicament all too real thanks to Jay Kaufamn's stunning cinematography. The mix of close ups panning out to show us the vast mountains of Colorado's Anza Borrega Desert which is both beautifully jaw dropping yet heart- wrenchingly foreboding, bringing the couple's sense of isolation from world chillingly to life.
Where the film really takes hold is in the final moments as Jake, convinced of his fate, reflects on his life to Alex, and her moving soliloquy in response gives it gravitas - "people's lives only means something to other people and you mean something to other people " she says as a cue to not give up. If the film is in desperate need of one thing it is a longer running time as at 13 minutes the tension and relationship dynamic needs that time to evolve if it is to have the desired impact. I was definitely left wanting to see more. It still delivers where it counts a shocking finish as the mournful "Grave in Pines" by Clayton McMichen playing following the camera as it pans back and forth of the stunningly eerie mountain desert. It's ending certainly left me somewhat agog.
There is a lot talent on display not only from those in front of the camera - Erika Soto's mix of despair and determination invoke hope and admiration - but also behind the scenes with Soson's stirring script and tight direction. "Everything's Gonna Be Okay" is an impressive directorial debut from Matt Soson, a heartwarming melancholic tale of hope and reflection that does justice to the survival film genre.