Written & Directed by: #PeterLeeScott
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
After hearing about the death of his best friend Gerry, young Sam (Thompson, a young actress radiating with talent beyond her years), decides to help neighbour boy Jack (Veal, an equally capable counterpart) give Gerry the Viking funeral they deem worthy of any brilliant hamster.
Winner of Best Director and nominated for Best British Short at the British Independent Film Festival, His Name Was Gerry is a delightful, pocket-sized coming of age tale which even though it may tackle its subject matter through the prism of a child's mind, still undoubtedly captures how we all deal with inevitable prospect of loss at some point in our lives, even if it’s a hamster.
In fact, His Name Was Gerry is a really touching tribute to those who have lost anyone at some point in their lives, not just their first pet or pets, who really are a child's best friend at that age. And while in some respects Sam and Jack may still suffer slightly from the innocence and naivety of youth, their inherent understanding of such a significant concept and the level of dignity and importance they bestow upon it speaks to a level of maturity kids are often not given ample chance to demonstrate, but Scott’s film creates the opportunity to show just that.
As a commercial director, besides having a very keen eye for the aesthetic, Scott clearly knows how to get story across as concisely and efficiently as possible. Jump cuts help move the story along to its necessary beats at a nice brisk pace and while the story is quite lean, the precision in the writing is such that we are only really given what we need to know in order facilitate the all-important emotion of the film, meaning what is happening becomes infinitely (and rightly) more important than the why. It gives its heartfelt moments the right time to breathe, never rushing to punctuate them with a joke or gag but rather letting us find the humour amongst the pathos naturally. And it is funny, delicately so, allowing us to laugh throughout without ever feeling like we’ve lost sight of the gravitas of Jack and Sam’s situation.
And finally, it’s a pair of stellar acting turns from two young leads who carry the film aloft to the finish effortlessly. Thompson barely puts a foot wrong as the no-nonsense, abundantly confident Kiera, who’s motivations for helping Jack in the first place are never really made clear, but it's such an enjoyable performance that we never even have question it, we’re just happy she’s here. Veal again, is the perfect yin to Thompson’s yang, and delivers the films closing eulogy with such grace and poignancy that it really underlines everything this film is trying to say.
A wonderful snapshot of a moment in two young people's lives, His Name Was Gerry manages to craft most if not all of the charm and whimsy of a full-blown indie movie in just twelve minutes courtesy of some fine writing, effective storytelling and top-notch performances.
Watch the trailer for His Name Was Gerry here: