Short Film Review #54

A full-on Irish history epic, Tom Waller’s Eviction is an unflinching look at the difficult relations in 19th century Ireland with fearsome English landlords putting the frighteners on their Irish tenants and pushing them to ever more desperate measures. It’s really quite shocking but very well done and the production values are excellent – Gay Hian Teoh’s cinematography and Eddie Hamilton’s editing are top notch and a cast that includes Cillian Murphy and Rupert Vansittart make this well worth watching.

A little, well a lot corny, Ben Gooder and Philip Greenacre’s A Fairy Story is really rather lovely. Tracey’s tired of going out to work nights but Madge won’t let up on her whilst over in the schoolyard, Sophie’s innocent belief in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas is challenged by her more knowing schoolmates. Naturally, their paths intersect and magic happens. Lots of fun and always good to see Janet Suzman.

A celebratory film for the WWF’s 50th birthday, Stephen Poliakoff’s take on A Night at the Museum sees a young boy accidentally locked in at the National History Museum and invited on a special trip to the secret parts of the building where he learns about all sorts of new species that have just been discovered. Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy star in this sweetly enthusiastic film and whilst it has to make its point rather heavy-handedly at the end, it is still rather well done.

On the night of 3rd September 1860, Charles Dickens built a bonfire onto which he threw every letter he had ever received and watched them burn, Siân Robins-Grace’s Fire asks what might have precipitated such an action and finds an answer in his marital affairs. Dickens was in the midst of leaving his wife of 24 years for a 20-year-old actress and Chanya Button’s film focuses on the turmoil it brought to all three. Richard Lintern’s anguished writer is hauntingly lit by the fire, Charlotte Randle’s enigmatic Charlotte Dickens is a powerful presence but it is Victoria Ross’ Nelly Ternan that dominates here, given a exquisitely eloquent voice that yearns with impossible longing. Beautifully done.

The charismatic Adeel Akhtar is the main reason I watched David Beazley’s The Cost of Living but I have to say I was a little disappointed as it aims high in terms of the vein of dark comedy It inhabits but doesn’t quite hit the mark. Two childhood friends reconnect after their lives diverge significantly but it’s not guaranteed to be a happy reunion – it trundles along ok but never really grips as the story unfolds, nor does it really make you laugh.

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