Written and Directed by James Dethick
Starring Clare Bright, James Dethick, David Robinson, Joseph Dethick, Rachel Gay, Max Hall, J. N. Dethick and Dean Medley
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Told with a degree of barminess and charm, James Dethick's short film Flake! is a comedy/mystery that utilises wonderful performances and and an eccentric filmmaking style that is compelling and entertaining.
Clare Bright plays Joan, a woman on a mission to track down her missing fiancé using any means necessary. She enlists the help of Dennis (James Dethick) and Keith (David Robinson), two drunkards who offer up an array of slurred philosophical musings in between their searches for self-advancement and sporadic support. Once their journey sees them exit the seedy watering hole they frequent and into the countryside and beyond, Joan's mission becomes increasingly mysterious and perilous.
Enjoyably theatrical, Flake! is a very entertaining short film, but one that could work equally, if not better, as a play. The mile-a-minute dialogue with endless humour and banter is excellent, and Dethick's blocking of the scenes is minimal, allowing the audience to attempt to pierce the baffling storyline at their leisure. Moments of smile-inducing weirdness are thrown in for good measure, such as a very intense singer, who opens and closes the movie, as well as a man dressed as a newt...yes, a newt.
The performers had a nice chemistry and the interaction between them felt jovial and convincing. Bright was a particularly formidable presence on screen, navigating the nooks and crannies of her character's motivations well and offering up a much-needed seriousness to the comedic aloofness of Dennis and Keith. That is not to say that the latter pair were anything but wonderful, I could easily watch future adventures and stories of them getting unwittingly wrapped into strange scenarios.
The aesthetic and mise en scène of Flake! again leant itself to something of a playhouse production. The costumes were a delightful spectacle of period tastes, and the locations had a purposefulness to them that made them equally relevant and efficient, such as the drinking table that Dennis and Keith are getting smashed at. Where Dethick does get more cinematic is in his exterior shots of the threesome riding bikes to the next location. Joseph Dethick's cinematography during these scenes was immersive and impressive. As was the original music and score.
Whilst the storytelling may be underwhelming (the narrative becomes as unclear as the ending is impotent), there is an enormous amount of enjoyable comedy and engaging filmmaking that viewers will descend into the chaos and emerge revitalised by the experience.