Directed by Jed Hart Starring Barry Keoghan, Grace Hogg-Robinson, & Dean Christie Short Film Review by Chris Olson
What could be more romantic than young love at a fairground? Well, a lot of things really. This tragic and affecting short film from Jed Hart operates in the bleak department of teenage romance stories, where the two characters are bingeing so much on freedom that their undoing is surely only one more poor decision away. Set in a travelling amusement fair, Shane (Barry Keoghan) is a listless yet relatively appealing character. Spending his time conning naive fairground attendees whilst drinking and smoking like he's a veteran, even though he is only a teenage lad. After rescuing Jasmine (Grace Hogg-Robinson) from some would-be thieves, the two enjoy the throes of attraction for a short time. Jasmine appears to be running away from some kind of angst in her past, and in Shane she finds a new path to walk. Likewise Shane is emboldened by Jasmine's presence, and even gives the middle finger to his abusive guardian (Dean Christie) by stealing his car. However, this kind of reckless merriment is sure to be short lived. Poignantly filmed, there is a bleak tone to Candy Floss as a short film that allows the foreboding nature of the story to sink in subconsciously. Whilst a degree of hope and promise are alluded to, the helplessness of the atmosphere is continually solidified by the plot, as these characters make the typical mistakes of people inexperienced with the realities of choice. There is an urgency to the film, a frenetic pace which perfectly suits the characters and this burst of life they are enjoying. It also sets the audience on edge and culminates in the stealing of the car and the subsequent journey. The performers are particularly great, Barry Keoghan throwing up another sturdy turn worthy of a performer triple his age. He was excellent in short film North and the feature film '71. Hogg-Robinson is incredible as the angst riddled teenage girl, cleverly revealing the cracks in her life throughout the run time through nuances and facial expressions. It could have been very easy, and forgivable, to fall down on the casting of this film. It is a weighty demand to place on young performers, but Candy Floss is able to utilise two fantastic actors who compel and challenge the audience. Many of the short films at the Raindance film programmes were heavy in tone, but few delivered the same level of intelligence, tone and character as Jed Hart's film. It's a powerhouse film, loaded with compelling realism and standout performances.
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