Simultaneously, arresting, disturbing, and moving, Dacre Montgomery's short film "In Vitro" is the actor's first official foray into the world of directorial work. Nonetheless, based on the largely positive response the artist has received regarding the project, it's safe to say that this first dive into the world behind the camera was a success.
Perhaps some of you recall that nearly five months ago I posted an article teasing Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery's upcoming directorial debut with the announcement of In Vitro which I identified as a short, cinematic adaptation of the very poem, also titled "In Vitro," which piloted Montgomery's DKMH poetry podcast series. However, after finally watching the project for myself and soaking in the kind of project which Montgomery endeavored to create, my view on the film has shifted entirely.
Inspired by the beatnik poetry movement as well as the horror stories from the prenatal ward that Montgomery's mother has shared with him, In Vitro seeks to do far more than just prop up Montgomery's original poem into film-form. Far from it, the short film stands apart from its source material as a brutal, near-avant garde retelling of a young woman's tragic collision with sexual assault and a pregnancy that tears her nearly in two.
In the opening sequence of the film, Montgomery asks his viewers to ponder the following question: "What does it mean to be a mother?" It is the gross exploration of this quandary, moreso even than the film's beautiful visuals and the mesmerizing voiceover work of narrators Dacre Montgomery and Naomi Scott, which truly sets this film apart from its source material and distinguishes it as a brutal but dazzling addition to discussions of the female identity.
True, some stray viewers have found the content of Montgomery's directorial debut to be too graphic, dubiously pretentious, and even outright exploitative, but the wide critical reception for this short piece is commendatory, with Montgomery's fans flocking towards IGTV to watch and rewatch a project that reveals an inner depth to the young actor which is difficult not to appreciate.
Anyone who would like to take a look at the project may do so here, and judge the piece for themselves.
However, that's hardly the end of Montgomery's recent work as a creator, as the actor has also been busy wrapping up his role in Natalie Krinsky's upcoming The Broken Heart Gallery,acting as an ambassador for the Red Cross and Australia's relief fund, and finishing up the second season of his beloved DKMH podcast.
Having just debuted two new poems to this series, "GAP" and the much anticipated "Control," whose composer was chosen among the public and rewarded a $500 prize, Montgomery has expanded on his podcast anthology by now offering a look into a condition which the actor had not yet made privy to the public: OCD.
Wishing to share and bring awareness to the struggles of those afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Montgomery's "Control" is an articulation of the artist's own experiences with repetition, feelings of helplessness, and, of course, control.
Furthermore, in the campaign for season two of the DKMH anthology series, Montgomery seems to have set a precedent for himself in that fans of the actor may be expecting yet another short film adaptation of the poems on the horizon. On that account, Montgomery has yet to make a comment on his future plans with the DKMH series and its growing collection of filmic counterparts.
However, considering how involved Montgomery has been in the past with finding ways to invigorate these deeply personal poems, from creating adaptations to creating an open contest for public to collaborate on these pieces, it's likely only a matter of time before "Control" is given yet another avenue to arrest the attention of Montgomery's growing number of supporters.
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