Directed by: #PaulMaziere
Written by: Paul Maziere
Joseph Turns 42 (or the Inconsistencies of Wonder) Movie Review
A mid-life crisis on holiday, filmmaker Paul Maziere’s short film Joseph Turns 42 (or the Inconsistencies of Wonder) is as picturesque as it is sprawling, captivating the audience with charm, subtle comedy, and beautiful locations.
Trevor Murphy plays the titular Joseph, a man on holiday in the Côte d'Azur with his partner (Laura Shipler Chico) but who longs to be back in Blighty. After attending his own birthday party, staring intensely into a swimming pool, and getting agitated by his insufferable “friends” (who spend most of their time discussing the best credit card to own), Joseph ends up on an odyssey across the French Riviera by accepting any and all adventures that come his way. Including a particularly exciting one involving a guy named Gonzo (Ben Gardner Gray).
Disjointed, cynical, and brimming with sardonic observations, Joseph Turns 42 embraces the best and worst of getting old by giving us a central character who is on the brim of a breakdown, without going full Falling Down. Instead, we get a rather joyous caper across the idyllic towns and landscapes, numerous eccentric characters, and a sense that nothing really matters as long as you just go with the flow.
Maziere utilises minimal dialogue, letting his central character’s obvious discomfort do the heavy lifting, and is ambitious in his construction of each scene. Multiple camera angles are used, a ton of different locations (an extraordinary feat given the sub-20-minute running time of the short), and a little room for each scene to breathe - which allowed for the comedy moments to burn brighter - such as Joseph dressed as a hotel worker. And whilst the movie feels safe in its charming and gorgeous environment, there is a threat posed by the recklessness of Joseph which keeps the film from feeling too safe. His antisocial behaviour is just the start of keeping the audience on edge, as we follow him on this heedless journey into the unknown, getting into several strange situations that allow the pace of the piece to feel incredibly satisfying.
With a title like Joseph Turns 42 (or the Inconsistencies of Wonder), viewers should expect a short film that is unconventional and a little barmy. And whilst you do get those aspects, Maziere compounds them into a cinematic spectacle that is also superbly crafted and intelligently structured.