Your memories are not always what you think, they can be twisted, manipulated even forgotten all together if that’s what your brain thinks is best for you.
In Diane, the latest work from writer, director and producer Michael Mongillo (“Being Michael Madsen”, “The Wind”), we see just how memories are manipulated when a traumatic even hits us.
Steve, Jason Alan Smith (“Before I Wake”, “Meeting Evil”), is a loner, ex-army soldier with a limp, living in his childhood home left to him by his deceased parents.
On a normal day, he wakes up, heads outside to his back yard and discovers the body of Diane, Carlee Avers (“Veronica Mars (TV)”, “Hear Me Whisper”), a beautiful young, semi-naked, dead woman propped up where, he’s pretty sure, there wasn’t a semi-naked dead woman yesterday.
In a bizarre twist, Steve decides to take a picture of Diane before phoning the police, who arrive, tape off the scene and immediately suspect Steve of foul play.
Whilst the police do everything they can to pin the death on Steve, he becomes obsessed with Diane; who was this woman? Why did she die in his back yard? Who was the killer?
Constantly looking at the phone picture he took, Steve begins seeing Diane for real. She appears, telling him he made her a promise, why hasn’t he gone through with it yet? Steve tries to figure out this cryptic message from the grave.
Jason Alan Smith in Diane
Diane is a short film, coming in under an hour and a half, but Mongillo manages to cram in, or perhaps leave enough out, to keep you guessing not just who dunnit, but exactly what’s going on.
The pace is slow and the colours washed out as we follow Steve’s attempt to get to the bottom of this mysterious murder. He’s convinced of his innocence, the police, very much less so.
Both Smith and Avers perform well, Smith does confused ‘woah is me’ ex-army guy well and convinces you about what you need to be convinced about…without me giving too much away.
Avers appears in flashback either dead or in dream sequences where she’s very much alive and kicking, bemoaning her life and the chance she had as a singer to ‘make it’, a chance she never took.
It’s hard to pin down Diane, it’s certainly difficult to categories it. IMDB lists it as a crime, drama, horror, it certainly has elements of all those things but to say it’s one over another is going too far.
Mongillo directs well and plays with our heads, with our perception and with what we expect. It’s fun and interesting though the pace could have been quicker for me.
Diane is a novel approach to the murder mystery, one that you won’t forget…
Also published on Medium.