Short Film Review #18

Originally included as an extra on the DVD of the first series of The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan’s Hello Friend plays amusingly on the difficulties that can ensue when venturing into the unknown with new internet software for computers. Martin Savage’s John Ward buys “Praemus”, which claims to be a better way to use the internet but soon gets caught up in a horrendous world of huge bills, faceless bureaucracy and email-only customer service which takes over his life completely. It is perhaps a little bit too long, given it is one extended skit but it is nevertheless good fun, not least for the brief cameo from Richard Ayoade’s Moss.

Written by Robin Hill and Crickett Rumley and directed by Imogen Murphy, Ten Minute Movie is a really fun piece of film. Jimi Mistry plays Sam, a man plucked from obscurity to be the star of his own personal movie yet even as he indulges in some (PG) wish-fulfilment, the amount of control he has over the story doesn’t always seem to be quite enough. The guy he picks to be his best friend (John Simm) goes rogue, the women he selects as his love interest (Alexandra Staden) doesn’t quite understand her motivation for succumbing to his passions, and so fiction ends up being as impossible to control as real life. Amusing fun.

A sort of prequel to John Michael McDonagh’s film The Guard, The Second Death is a bleakly characterful Irish piece that features some of the same characters and actors. Set (mainly) in the place of so much Irish drama, the pub, it trundles amusingly through the tropes of village life, slowly darkening as a haunting tale of past deeds rears its head. Game of Thrones fans will be pleased as it features no less than Catelyn Stark, Littlefinger and The Onion Knight.

Christin Cockerton’s film Deep Down is a viciously funny and richly detailed story of the fraught relationship between a daughter and her dying mother. The focus of their struggle of a Parisian couture ballgown from the 1930s and there’s a whole deal of comic business around the older woman’s desire to keep it and the younger woman’s desperation to secure it, but there’s also a darker undertone of frustration that enrichens the film. The trials of caring for a terminally ill parent are never shirked and with the luminescent presence of Helen McCrory, there’s intense depth along with a surprising (and now under-used) gift for comedy. Sylvia Syms is also excellent as the crafty mother, devious until the end.

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