Directed by Alexis P.N. Starring James Ruskin, Alice Sainsbury Short Film Review by Lorenzo Lombardi
Absurdity and dry humour are cohesively combined to entertaining results in this comedy-crime short, director and film student Alexis P.N’s graduation piece.
Cocaine and Cormorants follows a birdwatcher in the UK as he finds himself in the middle of a Colombian drug cartel’s smuggling plot. Things are further complicated when a massive crowd of bird enthusiasts rush out in droves to witness the rare titular bird.
Cocaine and Cormorants is a charming and amusing short movie. Its quirky tendencies make it particularly charming, fitting well into the situational awkwardness. To top it all off, it borrows elements of its humour from some of the best directors in British deadpan comedy. Echoes of a Guy Ritchie flick are clearly seen in some of the witty lines, as well as hints of Edgar Wright.
Characters in this film, although brief even for a short, deliver some memorable appearances - from a threatening female henchwoman to the main everyman Gilbert. He is played with awkward charm by James Ruskin. The formerly mentioned henchwoman is also performed memorably by Alice Sainsbury. Surprisingly, though, the characters are not the most fleshed out part of the film.
What struck me most was the sheer stylish cinematography. Shot in awesome angles, it exudes a sense of both professionalism and braveness that is not seen in many shoestring budget British shorts. Director of Photography Allan Ng takes dares to use tracking shots while also maintaining an energy that belongs in the film, with excellent results. With its scenic Norfolk setting, it would have been easy to use static shots to mainly highlight the location’s beauty. Yet, the direction of cinematography has a fine balance between focusing on subjects and location. This factor alone gives a worthwhile reason to check out the short.
Cocaine and Cormorants is an enjoyable and amusing piece filled with effective dry humour and exhilarating cinematography. If you have a passion for birds, admire good cinematography or appreciate a fine crime-comedy formula, flock out to find it.