12 October 2018
Have you ever felt like you were unable to find balance in something even after trying it over and over? Control seems to be something that many people struggle with; whether it be studying for a test, trying to get rid of old habits, or anything you wanted to change for the better. Control is something that we often feel that we lack. The short film “Control,” written and directed by Justin La Turno, is about a young college student struggling to find stability and regain control of his life. In the opening scene of the film we see the main character, Adam, at a skatepark attempting a trick with his board. This is a reoccurring scene within the film. La Turno uses Adam’s repeated trial and error of this one specific trick as a metaphor for the main character’s struggles throughout his short film. The way that Adam struggles throughout the film to successfully complete the trick is a representation of the way that he is also struggling to get his life back under his own control. We also see the main character’s room and how messy it is in the beginning of the film. These two scenes are extremely important because they represent his lack of “control.” The mess in his room symbolic of his “messy” life.
As the film goes on, the audience gets to see other situations in which the main character loses his “control.” For example, in one scene we see the main character talking to his nagging girlfriend. Adam explains to her that the only sense of control he has is with his skating. He feels that this is the only area of his life that he has complete control over. Adam tells her, “The only control I have in my life is over this board. This piece of wood. If I fuck up and fall or I land something it’s because I made it happen.” This demonstrates how Adam feels that he is not in control of anything in his life besides his skating.
Later on in the film, the audience sees Adam slowly taking control of his life again. He finally cleans up his room, he finds a job and seems to prioritize his school work instead of his skating. The message that La Turno is trying to convey to the audience is that the trials of life should not prevent us from reaching our goals. He does this by making the problems in Adam’s life relatable. Adam received a parking ticket, goes through a break up, and also starts messing up in school. More issues that are relatable to the audience are his struggles to find a job, his bad luck, and not being able to land the one trick that he has been trying to complete for days. Throughout the short film, the only appeal that is being used is pathos. After watching the film for the first time it made me pause to take a minute and think about the “control” I have over my own life. As the main character Adam was going through his struggles I definitely felt for him and understood why he was getting so frustrated and upset. La Turno seems to know exactly how to appeal to the audience’s emotions when he was writing the script for this short film. After reading the comments, it seems as though many people were touched by his work because he covered real life situations that almost everyone goes through such as the school problem, no job, and lack of communication. As I was growing up I always felt like I had no control of my life because people were always in the way and I could never achieve what I wanted in life. When the main character ended his relationship with his girlfriend I automatically thought of my situation and laughed it off because it was so relatable. When Adams girlfriend states, “You’re wasting your time on that stupid thing!” I found myself relating specifically to this situation. I also had a nagging girlfriend of 2 years that never wanted me to pursue my career in the music industry. Eventually I grew tired of her negative opinions and ended up parting ways with her because I knew she was one of the main reasons I began to question my future. I realized that she was holding me back from my dreams and decided to regain control the way that Adam did in the film. When a filmmaker or director is a writing a short film it is always a good idea to try and relate to your audience. La Turno did an amazing job achieving that because it not only made me think about the amount of “control” I have in my own life but I also found myself teary eyed because of how much I was able to relate to the situation on a personal level.
Through time, the main character realizes that the only solution is to take everything one step at a time. Eventually his struggles seem to slowly but surely become a thing of the past. By the end of the film, his life seems to be going in a positive direction that leads to him filling in those missing gaps in life and finally landing his trick. Sometimes we find ourselves questioning where we want to go in life and whether or not we are on the right path. In these moments of failure it seems as though giving up would be easiest way rather than being in a constant struggle and state of doubt. However in the long run working through these rough patches will only make you stronger. When all you want to do is quit you must remember how passionate you are about what you are so close to giving up on. This film should be used as not only a prime example of this, but also as a constant reminder to never give up on something you love.