Written & Directed by: #JonnyBryan
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Meet Danny Parker (Houghton) and his partner in crime Tommy (Hodgetts), two wannabe tough guys looking to make their mark on London’s criminal underworld. With their sharp suits, tough talk and criminal ingenuity, these are two geezers you really don’t want to be messing with.
Well, that’s what they think.
Unfortunately for Danny and Tommy, the Kray twins they are not, and probably never will be. Their suits don’t seem to hang quite right, their tough talk is instead just severely misquoted clichés from watching too many gangster movies and as for being criminal masterminds, trawling the weekend tabloids for “inspiration” isn’t exactly yielding many results. Well, except maybe fifty quid and whatever they can get from their five cannabis plants.
Writer and director Jonny Bryan can stand up and take a bow because as far as debuts go, Next in Line is a near-perfect triumph. Opting to deliver a project through a mockumentary style can be a daunting prospect, especially considering the long shadow cast by such masterpieces as The Office or Spinal Tap, but it is an inspired decision here. It’s not just funny, it’s very funny and it manages to maintain its momentum of humour easily from start to finish and the quality of the jokes are such that even on the second, third or even tenth viewing, there are some great moments that are always going to get you.
“Experience isn’t essential, but it is required”
But Bryan’s writing talent doesn’t simply limit itself to comedy, there is a clear degree of thought, resourcefulness and care in it that not only sees seemingly innocuous plot points and side-gags come back for an even bigger impact later on, but also allows the film a wonderful sense of depth and scale despite its reportedly very modest production. With essentially just a two-man crew and a tight budget, through clever use of location, script and his two brilliant actors, Bryan still makes sure the doors of Danny and Tommy’s London are opened wide to us, showing that it is indeed quality, not quantity, that really matters.
Arguably however, the mockumentary genre is one that lives or dies on its character subjects. The aforementioned classics are such examples of the grandiose personae that have defined it. Without a David Brent or a Nigel Tufnel, mockumentaries can perhaps only go so far. Luckily, although they may never be quite as iconic, Danny and Tommy are relentlessly entertaining. Houghton and Hodgetts are simply naturals in these roles, it’s evident in each little side glance or wink to the camera, their delivery and comic timing so on point not to mention a back-and-forth you could sit and watch for hours. Just as we all know a Brent, we’ve all met a Danny and a Tommy, and it speaks volumes to these two performances and the writing that the film is able to strike the right balance between realism and ridiculousness.
With its mockumentary approach, highly capable double act and razor-sharp writing, Next in Line is a complete harmonisation of all its elements and while its inept duo might not have much speak of in terms of success, this #shortfilm definitely has it in spades.
Watch the trailer here: