Written and directed by lead actor Robert DeSanti, co-directed by Matthew Van Vorst, a suicidal writer who can’t commit suicide because he is not satisfied with his suicide letter.
Having a writer, working in isolation, especially within a cabin in the woods, and struggling to deal with rejection is a classic set up to a story likely filled with turmoil, madness, depression or all of the above. Which is pretty much exactly what you get with The Epilogue of Gregory Archambault, but with a comedic and ironic edge brought to the table. An edge which allows the story to play with darkness but never succumb to it, keeping things playfully self-deprecating and dramatic. Although, to its credit, the comedy also never overwhelms the story, it frames most of the tone without becoming entirely silly or tongue-in-cheek, it still has its feet on the ground. The ending adds that nice dab of irony, but it feels as though it was slightly too slow to make as big of an impact as it had the potential for.
One element which goes further than any expectation is the editing by Angela Harrer and Geoff Ryan. It perfectly captures the isolation, with an almost claustrophobic touch, a quick movement and focus in the details. Vorst and DeSanti’s direction does much the similar, keeping close, enhancing the degradation of Gregory’s mental state and embracing the potential for madness. The location is well chosen and dressed, it’s lovingly typical of solo writer retreats.
Robert DeSanti’s performance as Gregory feeds into all those same themes, he has a blend of arrogant yet filled with self-doubt. He also has the typically messy look of the struggling writer, landing somewhere between hipster and homeless. It can feel slightly over dramatic at times but it does have that familiar charm of self-sabotaging or over-confident yet well-meaning male characters who have ruled the screen on many occasions in the pasty fifty or more years.
The Epilogue of Gregory Archambault is well shot, sharply edited and witty. It hits a number of familiar elements but still manages to feel new. The performance could pull back slightly at times and a couple of scenes could wrap up quicker for a bigger punch but it’s overall well made. Its eye for detail and lean into the madness, isolation and rejection is satisfying to watch.