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Written by: Daniel James Dismuke |   Directed by: Daniel James Dismuke |  Genre: Drama

Grace (Megan Elizabeth Barker) is sitting in on an AA meeting (or something similar) trying to beat her alcohol addiction. There was an accident pre-movie where a child was killed, and ever since, Grace has turned to the drink to help alleviate her guilt. The theme of this meeting is that God works in strange ways, and God always has a plan. Grace, among others, isn’t buying it. How could God’s plan include the senseless death of a child? How could God be so cruel? After a few brief moments, Grace decides she needs a drink and exits stage left.

Eventually, Grace ends up in the devil’s church. Literally, The only other occupant is a man (Sal Landi) who appears to be the bartender. Yes, in satan’s church, the congregation enjoys knocking a few back… which makes perfect sense to me. Anyhow, after being offered a free drink, the two begin a conversation about religion, god, the devil, loss, and even purpose. 

AAgnostic even circles back in on itself with a connection between the two strangers, and overall, this was a short film that easily surpassed my expectations. The opening sequence and closing sequences work in harmony to really tell the story of this film. Although religion is the backbone of AAgnostic, there are usually enough point and counter-point conversations to keep things generally open. That is, until the end, where it seems like the host of the AA meeting may have been right all along. I found the god/devil conversation interesting because it almost plays like god and the devil “kind of” work together to keep a balance—something I’ve seen before but not often quite like this. The acting in this short film is also very, very good. The two main characters kept my attention and helped move this dialog-heavy film along at a good clip.

Filmmaker Daniel James Dismuke knows how to write a good film, and it’s executed nicely by the cast and crew. For a micro-budget film AAgnostic generally feels bigger than many other micro-movies and it played across my screen quite nicely and even feels like a smaller part of a bigger story. Much like religion in general. AAgnostic earns its stars, in my opinion… four of them. Thank you for reading.

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