END OF THE LINE is Just the Beginning - Review by Lisa Panzer
END OF THE LINE is Just the Beginning
Review by Lisa Panzer
“The issue is life… and the respect for it. Fostering dignity and self worth amongst the hapless, leading perhaps to their extended lives is no abdication of care. It is the highest form of it.” ~ Leroy Downs in Randle B. Haley’s ‘End of the Line’
Leroy (Roy) Downs (Robert "Brotha Blaze" Murray), Director of the Sunrise Clinic hospice holds a “Ph.D.” in compassion. His mission is to give hope to those who have been given up on by the medical profession, society, family and sometimes even themselves. Critics deleteriously refer to the hospice as “End of the Line’, but when Roy Downs enters his unique clinic, his heart’s purpose is to bring value to his patients lives, every last bit. To accomplish this seemingly Sisyphean task, Downs, a single parent of a sensitive young man with growing pains, works round the clock to fight for others, at times robbing his family of his time and attention who also need him. Then, life happens… And things gets interesting.
Randle Haley has produced a solidly staged, powerfully poignant pilot that, though the subject matter is very serious,
shimmers with moments of bright levity, sparks of inspiration, hilarity, love and hope. Issues brought forth are very human, and are handled with sincerity and care. Warning - emotional attachment towards many of the characters in this 1 hour sample pilot is imminent. Clever camera work (Jacobi Simmons, DP) deftly allows all watching to see and hear within the walls of this end of life sanctuary at close range, and to witness the lives of those directly and indirectly involved as they evolve. Varied camera angles and focuses, add lush interest to the scenes and help bring the story home. Well placed music (Lamont Fountain of Twelve Gates Studios, Tracy Nelson) is used to full advantage augmenting the harmony and dissonance coursing throughout the story. Nuances in the acting via body language, facial expression and vocal intonation subtly bring the viewer into close range.
The overall acting is sterling. Murray’s charismatic presence and voice as Roy Downs ripple throughout the show. Many touching moments occur between Roy, his son Aaron, sweetly portrayed by Skylerr Martin, his patients, particularly Matilda Galloway, beautifully rendered by Lynn-Catherine "Lenny" Daniels, and maybe a hot moment with a head nurse... Linda Range, vibrantly performed by Miranda Thompson, is a caring nurse who occasionally does some fancy footwork as well with patient Sherwood Swanson, dapperly portrayed by Vann Barrett. Roy’s brother Dewberry, impactfully performed by Thomas Cook, brings out a more volatile side to Roy as does Dr. Jim Henson, convincingly played by James Jackson, during an intense scene that outlines the troubles between the bottom line and the end of the line and the issues that thwart the hospice’s goals.
The quality of story, camera craftsmanship and strong acting absolutely makes this series. More episodes, please!
Written by Randle B. Haley
Directed by Mike A. Pender