THE REWARD from Sentinel Productions on Vimeo.
Written by Joel Horwood, The Reward definitely ranks as top amongst this bunch
of shorts. Gorgeously filmed by Lucy
Patrick Ward, its opening shots set up its two main characters perfectly:
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s numbed woman having just lost her father, and Anatol
Yusef’s gym instructor working out the pain of the loss of his beloved dog on
his hapless aerobics class. When fate throws the pair together, their meeting
seems charged with almost unmanageable emotion, but what Horwood conjures is a
moment of powerful but truthful cathartic release that is just beautiful. Waller-Bridge
is fantastic (I want to see her in more modern roles on the stage soon) and
Yusef also convinces in suggesting his pain lies more than just in the loss of
a pet. Watch it now!
Harry, Henry and the Prostitute
Fans of Charlie Cox's hairy chest (and there are many of you, I know what search terms lead people here!) will be particularly pleased with this film, in which two flatmates hire a prostitute for the night, but end up in a spot of bother with her pimp when it turns out they haven't got the money to pay her. Harry Ter Haar has written a nerdish but convincing connection of banterish friendship which is played extremely well by Charlie Cox and Ben Rees-Evans which makes it a pleasure to watch even though the story itself is perhaps a little undistinguished. Theo Davies' production has a nice sense of humour though, which not even a random appearance from Fearne Cotton can undo,
A cutely observed short which is up for the Virgin Media Shorts competition at the moment. Barely two minutes long, Andrew Lee Potts' film speaks to the child inside all of us, the part that can never quite believe we're actually an adult, and with some sharp editing, pulls together an impressively sweeping vista which wraps up to a lovely sweet ending.
Also up for the Virgin Media Shorts, is Mourning Rules, a rather witty, dark, comedic tale of a professional mourner demonstrating the tricks of her trade to her sister. Written by Dan Castella, Olivia Poulet and Monserrat Lombard, and starring the latter two, it is dizzyingly manic and I loved the way it finished on an unapologetic loopy note.
Written by Mike Walden and directed by Edward McGown, Out There puts a dark spin on a family's move to rural France. Graham and Caroline's relationship is already strained and suffers even more so as his tutoring of an attractive young local girl provides an outlet for his wandering hands. She in turn looks to the friendly neighbour Jean-Luc but the rules for women are different to those for men in Graham's mind with severe consequences. It's not quite as compelling as it could be though McGown generates a strong sense of atmosphere and teases out strong performances from his leads - Lucy Russell's frustrated wife who understandably jumps at Tom Mison's bearded French-accented woodsman and Jamie Foreman, a malevolent bulldog in human form.
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Last up is Rob Curry’s Domestics, a two-hander about a couple’s very stormy
relationship which is tipped over the edge with the purchase of the wrong
flavour of ice-cream. It’s not particularly unique or flashy, but there’s something
quite neat about the way it shifts between perspectives, testing the viewer to
challenge what we are seeing – is it memory, wish-fulfilment, the future?
Maimie McCoy and John Lightbody gamely battle out the conflict as they each
push each other as far as they can go, and beyond.