This World We Live In is a short film written and directed by Gage Oxley, starring Jack Parr. The film tells the rather bleak tale of Joey, a self-conscious young man who falls victim to his circumstances. While it’s not “based on a true story”, This World We Live In might as well be. It’s a representation of the trap that many people find themselves in; a trap that is often self-induced to please one’s peers. It’s a rather tragic tale, and one that didn’t leave me feeling cheerful. However, This World We Live In doesn’t intend to leave you with a happy ending. Rather, the film provides a clear and important message that’s incredibly important in today’s global political climate.
I don’t want to spoil too much about This World We Live In and the story within. It’s a rather short experience, clocking in at around 20 minutes. It’s a powerful one, though. Joey (Jack Parr) is a young college student growing up in an unfamiliar place. By the second scene, it’s very obvious that Joey is a gay man living in secrecy, afraid to let his secret out. What plays out beyond the opening is nothing short of impacting.
I attribute some of the film’s impact due to the style of storytelling. This World We Live In feels incredibly real. There’s a lack of the “Hollywood gloss” we often see in higher budget projects. That’s not to say that the film seems low-budget, it actually works out fantastically. A large amount of the film is voiced over by Joey, as he tells us of the common struggle he endures. The combination of quality narration and a focal character does wonders in bringing forth the film’s humanity. Joey is a believable and solid character, one that is easy to empathize with.
This is mainly thanks to Jack Parr, who absolutely nails his performance. He’s a incredibly talented actor, and there’s a commitment to the role that clearly stands out. Nearing the film’s conclusion, Parr was able to draw chills and swelling eyes from me. This is normally hard to do, especially given the lack of time spent with his character.
Beyond a fantastic lead actor, the writing must be commended as well. While there’s not a ton of dialogue, what’s there is great. Almost all of the speaking roles are incredibly natural and realistic. This is not a script that feels quickly put together or lacking conviction. The content and topics at play are handled with care and honesty. The film doesn’t hold back the punches, and it’s sometimes graphic in its depiction. This was a great choice in perspective, as leaning away from the darker aspects of this story would’ve weakened it.
I only have one major complaint with the film, and it lies within the audio mixing. At times, Joey’s voice over was a bit hard to hear. Some lines are lost due to a mumble, some lost simply due to volume. It’s rarely a problem of balancing, rather the voice over being a bit too quiet. There was one point where the film’s score clashed with the voice over, but it was brief. Speaking of the music, it’s great. The score compliments the shifting tone of the film, and adds an extra layer of emotion to certain scenes.
When looked at as a whole, This World We Live In is a well made, well executed, and important piece of film. The story told is an excellent representation of the downward spiral many people experience, and the dangers that come with wanting to be accepted. This World We Live In reminds us that healthy self-image and open expression should not be taken for granted. As I viewed it, I went through a myriad of emotions that made my more appreciative of my circumstance. Any piece of media that can accomplish that is well worth watching.
Movie Rating: 4.5 stars.
Movie Ratings Guide
1 Star = Unwatchable
2 Stars = Cannot Recommend
3 Stars = Would Watch Again
4 Stars = A Solid Movie
5 Stars = Must Own (DVD/Stream Download)
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I’m a life long gamer and an overall media junkie. In addition to writing great articles like this, I host a gaming/comedy podcast called “Super Gamecast 64” available on iTunes and Stitcher. I also watch an unhealthy amount of movies, and try to spread as much love into the world as I can. Hope you enjoyed the content!