Short Film Reviews #4

And so it continues… The world of short films has truly got me hooked and I’m loving the number of favourite actors I am getting to see more of in this way. As ever, tweet/email/blog me links to other films you think I might like.

Imaginary Friend: 35mm Short Film from David Mercer on Vimeo.

The medium of short film is still relatively new to me and so I’m still feeling my way round a bit. The focus thus far for me does seem to have been on the more light-hearted side – due to the choices I’ve made clearly – and the experimentation of film-makers. But Imaginary Friend, written by Reece Dinsdale and directed by Ian Bevitt, is a storming piece of straight-up drama, featuring a tour-de-force performance from Maxine Peake who is just sensational here.

As the title suggests, we follow Pauline – Peake – as she sets about on a day trip, accompanied by Margery, her friend whom we never see. As ever I can’t say too much without ruining it, but the way in which the tone gradually darkens through this piece is expertly measured, Peake’s slow unravelling becomes ever more chilling, Bevitt’s direction keeps a wonderful tension about the whole affair and it resolves extremely satisfyingly. This is probably one of the best films I’ve seen since I started watching them and Peake’s performance is just unmissable. 

The Creep from Luke Palmer on Vimeo.

I’m shallow. So any film that starts off with pert bare buttocks is bound to get my attention, especially those attached to a man as handsome as Tom Mison. Mark Jenkinson’s film The Creep, written by James Humphreys and Craig Hunt, has something of a crush on Mison too, with lingering shots as he dresses and shuffles out of what one assumes is an ill-advised one night stand. But the reason he’s leaving and what subsequently happens makes it a slightly different, quirkily amusing prospect and well worth the 5 minute watch.

Beckett on Film: PLAY (Dir. Anthony Minghella, 2001) from CAJ on Vimeo.

Much of my focus on the films watched thus far have been on new and upcoming writers, and indeed mostly new and upcoming actors, so it was a little of a surprise to find this gem: Samuel Beckett’s short piece Play, directed by the late Anthony Minghella and starring none other than Alan Rickman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliet Stevenson – a blissful collection of actors. 15 minutes is about the right length of Beckettian obscurity for me and the visual ingenuity that Minghella employs in cutting between a man, his wife and his mistress who tell the same story twice over in an idiosyncratic style of babbling, almost nonsensical utterances. Oh, and they are all buried in urns, it is Beckett after all. I couldn’t tell what it means, if anything, but it looks and sounds simply gorgeous, and sometimes that’s enough.

Elsewhere from Mathy & Fran on Vimeo.

Jessica Raine has steadily been building herself into one of the most exciting young actresses we have at the moment, so I was very happy to find a film that featured her, in this case Elsewhere by Mathy + Fran. Along with Aneurin Barnard, the hipsterish pair go on a road trip of sorts, equipped with an odd selection of toys and trinkets and generally just mosey along in a poserish fashion. That might sound a little harsh, as the focus of the film is on the cinematography – it looks absolutely gorgeous and there are a number of beautifully composed shots and images – but dramatically it felt a little bit lacking. A good soundtrack though means that it never gets boring, just a little superficial for my tastes.

Joel Horwood’s A Bloody Muddle was an entry in the YouTube film festival, but caught my eye mainly because of the rather fabulous Zawe Ashton in the cast. She’s a beguiling actress who has a really edgy charisma that is just compelling. And that has been captured well by director Destiny Ekaragha here in this straightforward and comic tale of a man, a woman, a nosebleed and an interview. Unfussy and purposeful, it achieves exactly what it sets out to do and is most entertaining for it.

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