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Broadfoot's Magical Adventure review

Directed by Mark D Ferguson

Starring Euan Bennet, Steve Patrick, Michael Cooke, Ashley Ford & Andy S. McEwan

Short film review by Dean Pettipher

Against formidable odds posed principally by Time, a group of rising filmmakers based in Glasgow, Scotland, have pulled off a remarkable arrangement of the moving image art form. Mark D Ferguson has led a team in embracing the thrill of the 48 Hour Film Challenge and consequently crafted an alluring mosaic of fantasy and drama with a hint of comedy that leaves behind a number of discomforting unanswered questions, shedding an intriguing light upon the potentially devastating penalties that might result from the outright ignorance of such questions. Broadfoot’s Magical Adventure is, in the best possible and most plausible manner, quite disturbing, oozing with connotations that convey a noteworthy but above all impressive likeness with Lynne Ramsay’s 2011 feature-length drama, We Need to Talk About Kevin, for both productions instil an ever-growing concern within audiences that something is about to go wrong. Horribly wrong. The tragic course set in motion, by running in the opposite direction to one’s problems or willingly dismissing those issues as non-existent, is all but inevitable, were it not for the faint amount of hope for divine intervention, which remains defiant throughout the picture as a result of casting and dialogue in particular that click excellently into place together, producing likeable and relatable characters.

Of course the feature is not perfect. Not irregularly do moments of high emotional intensity lack that ostensibly small but ultimately powerful extra feature, which might make the heart pound that much faster. Albeit the acting is no less than engaging and believable, at times the sense of clearly fatal danger or urgency could be more greatly appreciated, perhaps through a tear, shaking and slightly increased levels of cruelty or distress in the vocal expression from the actors. These scenes are by no means ruined, however, for the chillingly suspenseful musical score from Andy Clark induces shivers that rise and fall with expert pace akin to that enjoyed while listening to the great movie themes from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Moreover, the depth of heart and soul with which the actors interact with one another in order to emphasize the strength or indeed the lack of character-to-character connection concerned, as well as their careful interactions with major symbols of the adventure, which are superbly supported by care-filled camera shots that demand the film be watched at least twice, just in case the audience missed something integral to the sheer heights of meaning within the picture, all testify to the success of the 48 Hour Film Project in revealing some striking movie-making talent.

While not essential for enjoying Broadfoot’s Magical Adventure, the film’s significance is only heightened by even a small degree of information regarding its crafting. The collaborators had just forty-eight hours to make a movie, which entailed the writing, the shooting, the editing and all of the other facets in between. To begin the process, Ferguson and the team had the genre of their film determined by fate, courtesy of a prize draw styled allocation featuring a hat. They were then bound by a handful of rules, serving to make the process more interesting and fun, rather than seeking to limit creativity. A specific character, prop and line of dialogue were all deemed essential elements to be included at some point in the movie. The completed work illustrates that the holy trinity of crucial elements were seamlessly woven into the project. Ferguson’s team, known as Kirkwood’s Babies, have shown that high quality films can be made in forty-eight hours. Moreover, although life might have presented numerous opportunities for drama to occur off-screen, the audience may never know for certain if that very likely set of circumstances plagued this project, for the artists both in and behind the scenes express the key notions promoted by the 48 Hour Film Project, which are arguably the undying reasons why the film industry remains an attractive industry to work in despite the immense challenges it presents for newcomers especially. Among other things, film is about teamwork. Film is about fun. And film, more crucially for everyone involved in the making of Broadfoot’s Magical Adventure, is about taking action for one’s dreams. Filmmaking does not revolve around simply talking about ambitions but instead taking practical steps in order to achieve them. For that reason alone, Kirkwood’s Babies are to be commended, for Broadfoot’s Magical Adventure, beyond being a story fuelled by themes of both Scottish and international significance, such as drugs, friendship and national identity, wonderfully represents an inspirational, determined pursuit of passion.


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