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Johnny Colorado short film review




Directors Michael Benton and Alejandro Espinoza craft a surprisingly melancholic examination of one man’s struggle against his own shortcomings as he attempts to re-enter the workplace.

Facing off against himself in a mirror, Johnny (Daniel Baldock) prepares for his interview. Full of bluster and self-assurance, Johnny initially comes across as a deeply unlikeable person; an impression that's all but solidified when he begins waving a knife and gun around and shouting into the mirror in an intimidating and threatening manner.

It's fair to say, Johnny Colorado doesn't make the best first impression.

Early on during Johnny's interview – where he also conducts himself with very little decorum – it becomes clear he was never going to get the job. And it's from here the tenor of the film takes a welcome turn to the lugubrious.

Daniel Baldock delivers a memorable performance as the titular Johnny Colorado; a man with his fair share of personal demons. Alcoholism and drug addiction go some way to explaining Johnny's erratic behaviour earlier in the film. But what makes this the stand-out performance it is, is how proficiently Baldock is able to delve into Johnny's inner self.

At his core, Johnny is a fundamentally flawed but completely relatable and sympathetic person; who hides his personal problems and insecurities behind a mask of bravado. Subtle nuances in the character belie his front and whisper promises of something deeper: indeed, there's a lot to ponder with Baldock's excellent performance.

The majority of the film details Johnny's interview, an interview I'm not entirely certain actually took place. Allow me to explain. During his interview with Mr Reynolds (played by Doyle Reynolds), Johnny spurts out a few seemingly misplaced and random utterances; things like, “Oh yeah, I'm an alcoholic.”

There are a few similar outbursts, and they don't make sense in the context of what's happening. They're easy to miss and even easier to dismiss as badly placed pieces of dialogue. But to me they seemed more like self-confessions; almost like Johnny had been playing out the interview in his head. Seemingly imagining how it might go and how he might approach questions asked of him, and in the process, had been forced to face his own shortcomings and anxieties; of which there are many. And in the end, I'm not entirely sure he even went through with it; having decided instead it was pointless to even try as nerves got the better of him.

How the hell did I end up sympathising with Johnny Colorado? My first thought as the film’s credits rolled. Johnny Colorado is a film which, taken at face value, could easily be dismissed as crass, self-assured and nasty; much like the man himself. However, if you look hard enough you'll discover Johnny Colorado (again, like the man) is a surprisingly deep and tender film at heart. A testament to some excellent narrative and character writing from Michael Benton and Alejandro Espinoza, as well as a subtle and carefully crafted central performance from Daniel Baldock.



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