28 January 2004 | bob the moo
An impacting tale of the dark side of our drinking pub culture
A man goes to an AA meeting due to the effect that alcohol has had on his life. However he himself may not be the main reason for his attendance as we flashback to a violent and rocky relationship with his girlfriend, with whom drinking is a major part of their social life and life together.
I attended a screening of shorts in order to see this latest film from the team that made the BAFTA winning short, Bouncer. Here it deals with yet another hard and violent subject, the effects of drinking. The writer used to work in nightclubs and has seen the subject plenty of times, his focus is not so much binge drinking as drinking to excess as part of the normal state of affairs. In the UK we have a definite pub culture - in fact it is the teetotallers who are seen as strange or not part of society.
Here we have a man who is confronting his problem with alcohol, although the problem he has is that his life is that the life of his partner has been ruined by alcohol, causing sudden changes in her character, mistrust and violent expressions of love. The film focusing on one incident but fills in plenty of background. The background is moving and interesting, but the incident is very effective at getting the idea across and is very shocking at one point.
The cast do very well. While it lacks the big name presence of Winstone, the cast do as well as he did in Bouncer - never appearing to be actors more than real people. Fox is very good and is the heart of the short, but it is McInnes that needs to be the most convincing. She succeeds because she is recognisable as a `normal' person but yet the alcohol damage is not far beneath the surface.
Overall this is a powerful, striking little short that deals with a recognisable yet overlooked subject. While the subject may appear to be an extreme, I have the depressing impression that it really isn't. At the time of writing the film is up for another BAFTA and I hope it wins. I will continue to keep an eye out for more shorts from the combination of Baig-Clifford and writer Thompson.