Kudos to the first-time indie filmmaker who is intent on mounting a simple character piece for their debut effort. Many aspiring filmmakers use their first films as a "calling card" of sorts, and in the case of Canadian filmmaker Braden Croft, that film is a refreshingly un-gimmicky one. Little more than a dour and slightly uneventful character study that's focused on a man who knows he is insane, Mr. Croft's Hemorrhage feels like 75 minutes of waiting for the other shoe to drop, which is both a compliment (the film builds up a slow bit of suspense) and sort of a red flag (not a whole lot happens in this micro-budget indie).
Clearly a labor of love for Braden Croft -- he not only wrote, produced, and directed, but is also the cinematographer, editor, and lead actor -- Hemorrhage is the story of a quietly creepy guy called Oliver, who has recently been released from a mental hospital, but could actually be a danger to people. The system pushes Oliver right back into society, and the young man has only a small degree of success before his emotional issues start to take root again. Suffice to say that he kidnaps a young nurse, one who could have been his friend, and hits the highway for reasons unknown. And things spiral way out of control from there.
Certainly not a fun little flick, and probably not for all tastes, Hemorrhage earns points for sticking to its low-key character study approach, and Mr. Croft clearly has some skill in the departments of editing and acting. Hemorrhage is certainly not a bad film, but this sort of material has been done before, fairly often, and despite the filmmaker's earnest and admirable intentions, Hemorrhage often feels like something that was made exclusively for film festival audiences. Ravenous genre fanatics who give Hemorrhage a look may be put off by the dry approach and sometimes languid pace, but there's clearly some dark cleverness and honest effort at work here. It's hard to predict if Hemorrhage will open any doors for Braden Croft, but even though I found his debut film a little frustrating and difficult to embrace, I suspect he'll be back with more films in the future. A guy who wears this many hats on his first film is bound to move on to bigger things.