Short Film Sunday – Wasp

Title: Wasp

Director: Andrea Arnold

Released: 2003

Length: 26 min

https://youtu.be/Ol8imKa9yd8

Anyone who has seen Andrea Arnold’s 2009 film Fish Tank will be familiar with her ‘kitchen sink realism’ style of storytelling. The most obvious influence would be Mike Leigh, his gritty style permeates throughout this tale of urban deprivation.

With Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold was able to utilize the considerable acting ability of Michael Fassbender. Whilst she has to make do with Danny Dyer here, it is a pre Football Factory Danny Dyer, back when he was a promising young British actor and he is pleasantly downbeat in a role that could have easily descended into a cockney cheeky chappy cliché.

Natalie Press in the leading role impresses in her first major work and brings the desperation and loneliness of the lower working classes to life. Wasp portrays a woman aching to find a bit of romance and glamour in an otherwise bleak life. Whilst it could be construed as displaying a stereotypical view on the lower classes, Arnold’s short film also has an undercurrent of sympathy rather than judgement.

Wasp is actually included as an extra on the DVD release of Fish Tank and if you liked the latter than the former makes a compelling and fitting companion piece.

Short Film Sunday – New Boy

Title: New Boy

Director: Steph Green

Released: 2009

Length: 11 min

Whilst New Boy has the slight air of a stereotypical Oscar bait film (and it was of course nominated) this cautionary tale of race and not judging a book by it’s cover is still charming and heart warming. Despite a dark undercurrent the setting of a classroom filled with cheeky Irish children ensures that the tone remains cheerful throughout.

Whilst the message and themes portrayed here are nothing new, the execution makes New Boy worth watching and a cast mostly made up of children cope well with occasionally difficult subject matter.

I didn’t really enjoy New Boy enough to seek out more of Steph Green’s work and I found the message a little heavy handed but at 11 minutes it is a nice easy watch.

 

Short Film Sunday – Curfew

Title: Curfew

Director: Shawn Christensen

Released: 2012

Length: 19 min

https://youtu.be/caNSEFN8bVs

 

Shawn Christensen writes, directs and stars in this Oscar winning short film about loneliness, family and redemption. Curfew opens with Richie sitting in the bathtub having just split his wrists. He receives a call from his sister begging him to look after his niece, a moral dilemma…

Christensen is excellent as the beleaguered protagonist and questions about his past are left vague enough to keep things interesting. In 19 short minutes the likeable Christensen has the audience rooting for him and the ending is emotional without feeling forced or contrived.

Not content with writing, acting and directing the damn thing, Christensen also wrote and performed the song that plays over a seminal and beautiful dance sequence in a bowling alley. Indeed the soundtrack is in general very good with Alex Ebert’s (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s) beautiful track Truth fitting perfectly over the end credits.

Curfew has been my favourite of the Short Film Sunday series so far and it is easy to see why it won an Oscar back in 2013. Christensen turned this short into a critically acclaimed film titled Before I Disappear.

 

Short Film Sunday – The Fly

Title: The Fly

Director: Olly Williams

Released: 2014

Length: 6 min 24 sec

https://youtu.be/-p_69PZ0OkI

The Fly is director Olly Williams (not be confused with Family Guy’s Ollie Williams) attempt at fusing Reservoir Dogs with Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven as a protagonist is driven mad by a hellish insect.

Reminiscent of the Breaking Bad episode Fly, The Fly is maddening, violent and also funny at times with Jack Doolan giving an intense performance miles away from his turn as tubby loser Snork in Cemetery Junction.

The final sequence is a fitting end to a continual build up of tension and whilst The Fly is not hugely original, it is at least executed very well and makes for a great ‘what if’ scenario.