Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that are most affecting and Julian Kerridge’s 2005 film debut Mr John is full of gorgeous, intimate details that make it a most charming prospect. Benedict Wong’s Mr John is an agoraphobic television critic but the arrival of a pretty upstairs neighbour, in the form of Nicola Stephenson’s Carol, forces him to look at the limits of his world anew. Their burgeoning relationship is a delight to behold – the gift of a casserole, a love for volcano documentaries, the re-organisation of a video collection – the quirky aspects of what makes her utterly adorable is perfectly played by Stephenson, the wry smile as she walks down the steps at the end enough to melt any heart. And Wong is appealingly nerdish as Mr John, initially disgruntled at the intrusion into his hermit-like existence but soon won over and willing to confront his greatest fear. Just lovely.
The genius of Susie Watson’s Small Dark Places is mainly to make the already unique look of Tom Brooke extraordinarily special as it puts him in a frankly hilarious fancy dress costume. The party is celebrating the wedding anniversary of Tim and Christine Welling but he’s been suffering badly from a debilitating condition which includes memory loss and agoraphobia. The party is an attempt to get back to normality but proves more difficult than that and Tim has to really fight to hold onto what’s real. It’s an excellent piece of story-telling, intermingling fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, past and present, as Tim reaches for the thing just out of his grasp that he knows isn’t right. Brooke is brilliant in the part and Joanna Christie and Zoë Tapper as the women in his life with completely different agendas are also good.
Rankin is probably best known as a photographer but he has also dipped his toes into many other creative pools, including short film, as evidenced by this 2012 clip Rachael. Penned by Irvine Welsh, it’s a snippet of 1940s British life, a family go about their usual morning business but no-one can get into the bathroom because youngest daughter Rachael is in there. Quite what she’s doing only becomes slowly clear to us as the rest of the family get increasingly frustrated with her. The film naturally looks gorgeous, a professional cinematic feel is employed with hints of artiness elevating it beyond the everyday rituals it portrays – recommended.
A film mainly notable for its excellent utilisation of Miranda Raison’s alluringly breathy giggle, Frederic Casella’s HeavenScent is a slightly different, comic take on an office romance, over and done with in three minutes and perfectly serviceable.
A 3 minute bit of silly fun to round us off.