Short film reviews #1

This post was originally meant to be the out-of-office message that went on here before I went on holiday, but time ran away from me as I left myself much too much to do and so it was left unfinished. But I liked it too much to abandon it completely, as my entrée into the world of watching short films was far too much fun to go unmarked. So here is a collection of short videos, many of them featuring familiar faces from the theatre, that should hopefully entertain you as much as they did I.

Written by, and starring, Tom Mison and Rupert Friend, The Continuing and Lamentable Saga of the Suicide Brothers is a quirky homage to the silent film era, directed by the Brownlee brothers (no, not those ones, these are called Arran and Corran). The boys play brothers, who as per the title, are determined to end their lives but are not having much success with it, as they are being watched over by a good fairy, who just happens to be Keira Knightley. It’s silly and quirky and lots of fun, not least during the closing credits with a lovely bit of German slap dancing which ought to replace at least one of the post-show jigs at the Globe.

I saw Daisy Haggard recently at one of the Royal Court’s staged readings and it reminded me of just how much I liked her style, so I was pleased to find one of her short films online, written by Dustin Demri-Burns and directed by Tom Edmunds. Prada & Prejudice sees a woman goes into a cobblers to get her reheeled Pradas back but things rapidly spiral out of control when she ends up with a pair of clown shoes instead. Short and punchy, I found this to be really rather funny – Barry McCarthy’s dead straight cobbler gets it just right next to Demri-Burns who appears midway through, forcing Haggard’s woman to face up to a hilariously uncomfortable truth. 

Another silent film, though this time much more of a romance. Chris Croucher and Mark Beynon wrote and directed this tale of two social misfits who spend their spare time combing the banks of the River Thames and strike up an unlikely friendship from either side of the water. The Beachcombers is sweet and charming, Charity Wakefield and Rasmus Hardiker make a lovely pair of protagonists, and just about avoids falling into the trap of becoming too stalkerish or mawkish though I suspect I would have preferred it had the story avoided the potential love aspect.

Matt Huntley’s Trimming the Fat was recommended to me by someone who knew how much I liked Sinéad Matthews, but though she is excellent and the short is often quite amusing, I found it a little overlong to be really effective. Mat Horne plays a businessman who checks into a hotel to find that one of the barmen used to go to school with him and is determined to revisit the good old days. Problem is they weren’t even friends and so matters become increasingly strained as more and more boundaries are crossed. The concept is one that works, and Matthews’ turn as a sullen receptionist is worth the watch alone, but essentially it is one joke replayed and stretched too thin and so could have been edited down to make it much sharper IMHO.

A nice bit of pyschosexual drama here with an Oedipal slant thrown in for good measure in  this short written by Sam Hodges, who also stars, and directed by Mary Nighy (daughter of…) Hodges plays Dromio, a piano prodigy who has been home-schooled all his life by Haydn Gywnne’s Marion, a rather glamourous figure who clearly enjoys being the centre of attention. When they move to the Suffolk countryside though, their uneasy relationship is tipped out of balance as Marion responds to the attentions of local lothario Colin, Pete Postlethwaite, despite him being married to Celia Imrie, for shame!, and attempts to redirect the sexual energy of her son towards a local young girl. There’s a strange energy to Player, but it is one that was curiously persuasive and I really rather liked it.

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