Everybody with eyes knows that Oscar Isaac is an actor of phenomenal ability. He’s run the performance gamut from nebbish-y folk musician to egocentric techno-genius, he’s been a hero and a scoundrel and everything in between and with every new outing he further solidifies his reputation as one of the best among his generation. But as great as the work he’s done has been, Isaac hasn’t really had a role yet that fully showcases the broad range of emotion he’s capable of conjuring. Until now, that is.
Today’s short film selection, another Vimeo Staff Pick, is called Lightningface, and it stars Isaac as Basil, a man living his peak life until one night while outside for a smoke he gets struck by lightning right in the face. Brutal. When he wakes up, he finds his face hideously scarred from the accident, which starts a psychological spiral that moves through despair and isolation into a much, much weirder realm where Basil believes his accident was no accident at all, but the impetus for an otherworldly transformation. Yeah, it’s as nuts as it sounds.
Brian Petsos is the writer-director here, and he’s crafted, without a doubt, a nuanced, intriguing, riveting and confounding narrative, but the real star is the actual star, Isaac, who is all over the place here, and I mean that in the best possible way. This is Brando-level work here, Denzel-level, Olivier-level, and it causes me to stand corrected: Oscar Isaac is not one of the best actors of his generation, he’s one of the best actors. Period.
I don’t know if Lightningface is eligible for an Oscar Nomination, but if it is, the other contenders should look out. This film is as powerful as it sounds, and demands your attention. Watch it, love it, spread it around.