★★★★★ Directed by: Joseph Ollman Written by: Joseph Ollman Starring: Matthew Aubrey, Jâms Thomas Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
The unlikely existential ruminations that can transpire when two contrasting characters collide has never been so picturesque than in Joseph Ollman's short film Meat on Bones. Set upon a gorgeous clifftop and beach, the audience not only gets these breathtaking visuals, but also a poignant and affecting story with superb performances.
Matthew Aubrey plays Gwynn, a sheltered office worker who treks his way up to the top of a cliff in order to stick an eviction notice on a caravan. Little does he know what's awaiting him inside. A surly alcoholic called Dai (Jâms Thomas) who takes matters into his own hands with this council worker by taking him hostage.
As with any short film that approaches it's story with two central characters, the chemistry between the performers needs to be incredible to carry it off effectively, and in Aubrey and Thomas the chemistry is nothing short of transfixing. The characterisation has been intelligently written by Ollman, creating important depth to each, that when these actors step into the roles they have so much to work with. Aubrey is a terrific scared little lamb and also delivers some amazing one liners, such as having fajitas for dinner that night. Thomas is a compelling presence throughout Meat on Bones, exploring the various nooks and crannies of his curmudgeonly Dai with skill and aplomb.
The filmmaking is done to a really high standard. Making superb use of the glorious location, as well as coping with tighter shoots inside the caravan and a cave. There is a memorable atmosphere created by Ollman's movie that starts with comedy, gets darker, and eventually moves into something more dramatically tragic and thought provoking. This is enhanced by many aspects, such as the cinematography and score, but the locations are most definitely one of the most striking.
It was the superbly crafted themes of Meat on Bones that convinced me of its genius. What starts as a simple odd couple comedy becomes something far more detailed and impressive. The revelations of each character go miles in making them so much more intriguing that, without spoilers, by the final third of the film you know that this is a slice of top-tier short filmmaking that you are watching.
If you can write characters as believable and engaging as this, evoke performances as entertaining as this, and strike thematic chords with an audience as intelligently as this, then yours is the world my friend. Not to mention delivering a remarkably cinematic viewing experience from an aesthetic point of view.
Watch the official movie trailer for Meat on Bones below...
Or watch the short film for free as part of the UK Film Channel.