(Written by Intern, Megan Davis)
It is not often I am left in utter shock and disbelief as a film’s credits roll, but Continue accomplishes exactly that. Based on her own true experiences, Nadine Crocker’s Continue lends an eye to the mental health journey of Dean (Nadine Crocker), a suicidal woman with clinical depression. After attempting to take her own life, Dean is forced to admit herself into a mental institution against her wishes. While there, she finds unexpected friends, and eventually gets on track to better herself. While her depression is a struggle that continues to rage on, she finds moments of joy, and the life of her imagination.
As someone who has dealt with depression for years, I admire the story told in Continue. While at points I wondered what the ultimate crux of the film could possibly be due to what feels like a tale of everyday life with a mental health condition, it is a compelling story that kept me intrigued the entire time. The combination of excellent sound design and spectacular editing accurately present the inner workings of Dean’s mind. Noise after noise collects as one, culminating in an overwhelming crescendo as we see her suicide attempt play out from the opening. The editing especially is a work of art in allowing the viewer to experience the destructive and despondent mental state of Dean for themselves.
Nadine Crocker not only bestows brilliant directing in Continue, but additionally performs wonderfully as Dean. Crocker playing a character that is based upon herself and her personal fight with depression undeniably gives this film an edge. Her acting throughout Continue is truly authentic, and one can see it clearly through the raw emotions and vulnerability displayed. The performances of the entire cast are outstanding elements that considerably support the telling of Crocker’s story.
The only reservations I have against Continue are miniscule issues with continuity, as well as the character of Jackson (Anthony Caravella) as a whole. Jackson serves as a fairly integral part of the plot, and yet, we see him in just a select few scenes. His character is either a terribly underused character or entirely irrelevant, and with the subpar acting of Caravella, I would settle with the latter. His character could have easily been transformed into that of someone who transparently appears to hold more importance in Dean’s life; he currently seems to merely serve as a way to achieve a specific plot point.
In the end, the film sends a gripping and heart-wrenching plot twist that left me entirely speechless. The narrative is wrapped up strongly, whilst leaving viewers to ponder the ending and reflect on the entirety of the film. Continue‘s story speaks to the audience on so many levels. It is dark and gruesome at times, but that is the reality of coping with a mental health condition. Continue is a truly beautiful film that I thoroughly loved watching.
Continue screened at Cinejoy Film Festival on April 3rd.