EVERYONE FORGOT *** UK 2022 Dir: Theo Kai Marlow. 18 mins
Editor / producer / writer / director Theo Kai Marlow follows his 2018, April Fools’ Day-based short THE MOST SAVAGE WEDDING EVER with this effective meld of dark humour and pathos.
It opens with a microcosm of loneliness and desperation in our social media dominated world: first seen in a dressing gown dragging on a fag, Lily (Anwen Bull) has turned 40 but only has a self-made chocolate cake (“I’m 40 bitches” it screams) and zero “happy birthday” notifications to show for it. Resigning herself to an unsatisfying “People are just busy” state of mind, she constantly checks Facebook-like app “Amigo” for well wishes that never arrive. She then desperately clings to the amiable handyman Ben (James Knapp, whose early credits include 2019’s THE YOUNG CANNIBALS), who is duly sympathetic but increasingly trapped in servitude to her unfolding midlife / 21st century crisis.
A witty study of modern enslavement to apps and insincere, duty-bound text-based greetings, this pivots around a multi-layered performance from Anwen Bull, cannily conveying the transition from irritating to sympathetic to unhinged via all-too-annoyingly-real catchphrases (“That’s all gravy girlfriend”) and ominous personal affirmations (“I’m not mental anymore”). Knapp smartly underplays in the face of her authentic neediness and there are some amusing incidental jokes (note the dramatic thunderstorm) as the script pithily tracks its way to a satisfying twist.
Review by Steven West