Review by Chris Olson
Most people’s experiences of bus stops are far from glamorous. I think I speak without hyperbole when I say that almost every, single bus stop in the UK has an immovable fragrance of urine and at least one man who wears a pigeon as a hat. However, this short film from Jamie Sims captures the beautiful possibilities that present themselves to us every day in our lives, if only we let ourselves engage with them.
Sitting at a bus stop one day is Henry (Sam Underwood), a young man carrying a box of his belongings from the job he has just been fired from. Alexa (Valorie Curry) joins him on the bus stop bench, on the phone to her boyfriend whom she is in the middle of a domestic spat with. After an awkward introduction of Henry pretending to listen to music on his phone as to not impeach on Alexa’s private call, the two start chatting and realise that they are both in what most would call a bad point in their lives.
However, deciding to look at the world on its head, Henry and Alexa choose the path more sunnier and go on a sightseeing tour of…Woking. They enjoy a freedom which comes only from meeting a stranger, a freedom without any personal baggage. However, like most bus routes, the end of the line is never a pretty sight.
With a dedication to character and script, Sims delivers an embracing and enchanting tale of two sitters. The chemistry between Curry and Underwood will hook you in, and their poignant tale of fate and chance will keep you seated at all times. The two characters seem captivated by the other, revelling in the unknown and mystery of the situation, which makes for a very enjoyable short film. Curry in particular delivers a remarkable performance, splendid throughout.
There is a depth of emotion to the framing which invokes a very intimate feeling, capturing these two offset strangers with perfect balance. A lovely sprinkling of music from Ursine Vulpine intertwines the scenes, giving the tone a nostalgic element which reinforces the timelessness of the plot.
The conclusion may leave some feeling overcharged for this journey, but I for one would like to see a return trip (by which I mean a sequel, sorry, these bus metaphors are getting out of hand). It is a vibrant and life-affirming film that captures the essence of spontaneity, without feeling too clichéd.