Directed by Phillip Crosby and Keif Gwinn
Starring Monique Squeri, Maeve Leahy, and Fritz
Short Film Review by Owen Herman
Immaculate is a short film that delights at being weird and wacky. It is a surreal tale of two performers, a clown and a mime, as their relationship breaks down on stage whilst performing to an audience consisting of one man, who also happens to be a puppet and the mime’s boyfriend.
The short opens with the two performers getting ready in near silence for their show. Despite the lack of dialogue, the tension between the two is clear, and when the performance is underway, the clown loses her patience with the mime’s self-centred approach.
The earlier parts of the short are very much like a silent film, with title cards and very little dialogue. However, as the short progresses it moves away from this, not only with increasing dialogue but also with its aesthetic, which is a shame. Immaculate could have embraced the feel of that era of entertainment, instead it just references it and moves on. Had it been bold and tackled this challenging style head on, at best it could have paid off brilliantly, and at worst it could have gone down as a notably ambitious short.
Keeping with the style of show they are in, the performances from the two leads are suitably, and humorously, exaggerated. There is some good physical humour on display, with the jokes about the mime’s various ‘acts’ being the highlight. The relationship between the two is clearly shown early on, without any real dialogue, which demonstrates that the performances were not only strong, but would have also been good enough to carry the short if it had had the bravery to keep with the silent area feel that I mentioned earlier.
The short ends in a very bizarre but quite funny way, and it leaves you thinking “what on Earth have I just watched”. This both good and bad, Immaculate is unique and original, but it seems that it’s trying to be weird for the sake of it. The surreal moments do play well for humour, but they have no narrative purpose and, therefore, just leave you questioning what you’ve seen.
Immaculate feels half-baked, it lacks commitment to the style it begins with and feels unnecessarily wacky. There are some elements that work, but they fail to bloom into something significant. What begins with intelligence and ambition, tails off into an over-eccentric tale that resembles the mime’s own self-centred performance.