Review by Chris Olson
“A Man’s World”
A ménage-a-violence in this sleek British short film about the bubbling rage that consumes some men, and the psychotic lengths they may go to in order to protect their ego.
Set mostly within a nondescript snooker club, Mark, whilst waiting for his pal to turn up, spots an “acquaintance” called Danny at the bar. Having some tenuous connection, Mark strikes up a troubled conversation with this known woman-hitter, which ends up being a one-sided slanging match in which Mark denounces Danny’s violence and drunken tendencies. Queue some American funk music and a montage of brutal lashings, and the film becomes a tense and thrilling chase movie, where Mark lays beaten on the floor and his buddy must be on the run from Danny after stumbling into the toilet at the wrong time.
A London-based thriller about violence is going to have to set off some flares in order to get some attention, and A Chance to Not Remember does manage to cause a few turns-of-the-head. With an oddly addictive blend of British crime and American style (in particular the music choices), Croston’s short film gives the audience an appealing twist on a classic cocktail, like drinking a pint of Stella with a Bourbon chaser.
Yes the script is a little derivative, but the performances are strong enough to douse those concerns early, offering three believable characters within a short space of time that grip you. There is a strangeness to Mark’s behaviour towards the violent Danny, blatantly stirring him up, that only becomes clear near the end, with a welcome plot twist. The familiarity of Danny’s character, quietly building into a tormented rage, starts a little too familiar at first, but actually becomes a spectacular development by the end. Alongside this, Mark’s friend who turns up to find a bloody bathroom scene, offers the perfect entryway for viewers into this dark story.
It is refreshing to see a London crime-thriller that offers more than grit and grime. Not only does this short film serve up a platter of violence and seedy characters, it does so in a way that makes them seductive rather than off-putting. Brutally engaging and stylishly crafted, this is an arresting watch for fans of thrillers.