Guide Me Home portrays an unfortunate young man on a journey he can’t complete in a short film written, directed and produced by Stefan Georgiou. The final outcome guarantees that for David. However the storyline running from beginning to end leaves a lot of gaps and connecting the dots is left to us. Interpretation still proves pretty elusive. But the 15 minute film can’t help draw the viewer in – even if figuring out a message could send you around the bend.
Out of the gate, though, we learned that David likes a girl, and doesn’t yet have the courage to approach her at the local pharmacy. But the shy reluctance, pensive eyes and the unimposing good looks that actor Mat Laroche casts is almost irresistible.
On the other hand, Saanvi (Helena Banerjee) is not the only love in David’s life. His ten speed grants him not only an intimate connection to the streets of London but also provides an escape from any travails.
The introduction of David’s sister Eve clarifies his mindset and the coping mechanism the bicycle represents. “He said he liked to cycle around,” laments actress Hannah Emanuel. A portrayal that pours out the guilt in bucket loads and almost makes us feel responsible.
So as Laroche emotes a downtrodden trend for David, the cyclist elevates the bike’s importance by his careful maintenance. The vehicle flipped over on multiple occasions, rotating the wheels, adjusting the bolts and fine tuning the pedals hammers the point home.
Additionally, the circular attention to detail suggests a trajectory for the drama. Nonetheless, David suddenly has it all turn around. Saanvi shares his joy on the back of the bike and things are looking up.
Or not. David assaults his bicycle, and we’re not sure whether the temporary bliss was imagined or had a short relationship run its course. We know because the shifting timeline of the story shows her rejecting his humble advance.
In keeping, it’s not known why, and really baffles, since Banerjee’s performance invites David and the audience in. So the sudden changeover feels startlingly abrupt.
Unfortunately, other aspects of David’s life aren’t hitting on all cylinders either. His apartment is baron, and his move to London has not returned the employment he needs to sustain himself.
The bewildered looks fail to reveal a resolution, and the long shots of the empty streets and the commensurate cinematography (Keidrych Wasley) imply that there isn’t an answer around the next corner. The accompanying score (Harry Brokensha) hints the same. With an obsessive piano beat overlaying the melody, the expanse David faces cannot be breached and signals that the world is closing in.
Taking the cue, David develops another outlet. He carries a digital tape recorder and captures the incidental sounds around the despair that envelops him. No explanation is given for this odd behavior. But along with a possible addiction to pharmaceutical drugs and a few thugs to go with it, the mystery fades into the background with every life giving circumnavigation of London.
So much so that maybe David will point back to his bicycle as the vehicle that provided his salvation. He just has to break the cycle between the bouts of pain and the therapeutics cycling.
The hopeful pull on the audience is undeniable, but the centripetal force is too much. Thus, his sister reveals the core of his demise. “He wanted to be a London boy, it consumed him.” Still, it doesn’t seem enough to completely undo David and the mystery of the girl, the drugs and the tape recorder leaves us largely ‘in the dark’ upon the fade to black.
Left to unravel the disconnect, the narrative leads back to the reoccurring curvature of the drama. David’s obsessive circling and the visual reference to all things 360 degrees destines the lost soul on a road to nowhere, and despite the momentary uplifts, the story arc was actually a downward spiral that had no chance of guiding David home.