Directed by: Arthur Johnson
Starring: Mackenzie Paterson & Muireann Ni Raghallaigh
Short Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
Mark at the Supermarket Movie Review
There is nothing better than awkward nervous guys, you know the kind who like to play D&D and never speak to anyone and collect fingernails for fun, those ones? They are a real catch.
In fact, I like anyone who is a little different, there is nothing more boring than the average person, the one who shops at Burton’s and has dinner at Nandos…no I want weird people who wear bowling shoes all the time and carry a lunch box and let me tell you something…30 seconds into this short, I had found my mate, I was in love.
Short film Mark at the Supermarket follows the life of a social recluse called…well Mark, he never leaves the safety of his bunker unless it is to bulk buy food from his local Thai supermarket. Mark hates people, Mark talks to no one, Mark likes to organize his canned goods…be like Mark.
While at the supermarket, though, he spies a lady, one who seems externally to be just like Mark; she is awkward and nervous, dressed in a similar fashion, and of course, Mark is fascinated (he wants her toenails for his collection. So, what do we do when we like someone but can’t talk to the common man, Google it of course.
Our dear Mark learns new talking skills from the internet, practices at home, and plucks up the courage to engage with this lady, their engagement is clunky and painful to watch, but at the same time inspiring. As a viewer, you want him to win, you want him to find someone he can share his private space with, and when it all starts to come together you can’t help but smile.
What does that say for this short, well it says a lot, for in less than 10 minutes we have become so invested in our leading man that we want him to win, we care about his outcomes and efforts, we have connected, and how could you not? Mark is the right balance of vulnerable and confident, he does not care that he is weird and he does not care what anyone thinks, to him, he is normal and just wants someone to share his time with.
Director Arthur Johnson made an excellent choice in location, Mark is socially nervous, that’s clear and to place him in the bustling aisles of a Tesco would be too much, the choice to use a small local Thai market is perfect, often empty or very quiet we can see that Mark is more comfortable here, it screams his needs and fears all at the same time. Johnson is establishing habits and needs of the character without handholding the audience, we can put together our own decisions about Mark using the clues on screen.
And with this in mind we can also put together the characteristics of Mark’s lady friend; they buy the same food, dress the same, they shop at the same small store, we are completely led to believe they are the same thanks to the direction we have been led down in regards to understand Mark.
Each of the actors embodies the many idiosyncrasies and quirks that the characters display in a fantastic manner, there is never a doubt that we are not watching a genuine performance, one that displays a wide range of emotions, to fear, doubt and sheer confidence.
Mark at the Supermarket not only caused me to form a crush but reminded me that it’s ok to be yourself and not hide away from the person you are…now if you don’t mind I’m off to polish my bowing shoes.