Directed by: #VictoriaMuldoon
Starring: #FreddieHogan & Victoria Muldoon
Majority of us have had some sort of experience with going to the job centre or working with a careers agent to amend the dreaded state of unemployment. Majority of us also know how dull and stationary those meetings can be... but not this meeting. My Neighbour Barbequed My Fence revolves around a woman named Tiger, who has been referred by the job centre to the careers advice service, but she turns up 20 minutes late to her appointment. Tiger has a poor and extremely unbelievable excuse as to why she’s so late.
Victoria Muldoon wrote, produced and stars in My Neighbour Barbequed My Fence. As a performer, Muldoon is perfect for the role she has assigned herself. Her character, Tiger, is interesting to watch in her somewhat unpersuasive demeanour... whether this is intentional on Muldoon’s part or just a genuine lack of emotive acting, I cannot actually tell. Tiger also occasionally uses colloquial terms and phrases that aren’t necessarily age appropriate for her, making her more of a comical character.
Freddie Hogan is also a reasonable performer; his portrayal of the character Tom comes off as not naturalistic. However, I think this may have been intentional due to the intended droll nature of the film. Or at least, I hope that was the case, and if it was: Hogan did a great job.
Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure what the point of this film was. It was a bit nonsensical but not funny ENOUGH to be acceptably nonsensical. The themes are even hard to distinguish for me as a viewer, but some guesses might be that there are allusions to finding your place and purpose in life... and sex work? There are some references to the unfairness of life and its interruptions that prevent people from becoming what they wanted to be. However those references are very fleeting and the audience isn’t likely to have enough time to digest these moments for them to have any real meaning, which is a shame.
The message ‘Carpe Diem’ can be seen at the beginning of the film, which again suggests that the point of the story was to express the importance of finding joy in one’s life. The credits roll to the soundtrack of ‘Give Me a Job’ by Sherika Sherard, which also aims to reminds us of the societal pressure to get a job... even people who only have 3 A-Levels need a job. Well, that’s what I got from the lyrics anyway.
Towards the end of the short film, composer Emma Mooney did a good job of picking an airy piano instrumental to suggest that the story was intending to end on a moment of hopeful realisation.
But I just ended up being confused. It seemed like the story and dialogue jumped from A to C and forgot about B. Essentially, the dialogue could have benefitted from being fleshed out a little bit more.
I’ll give it props, there is never a dull moment, you literally won’t be able to see what’s coming next in this crazy meeting between two odd people. Therefore, My Neighbour Barbequed My Fence is definitely intriguing, for better or for worse.