Directed by: #ChrisRourke
An 'Idealist' and a 'Revolutionary' gather for a summer BBQ and discuss the state of the world in 2020. 'The Richest Man In The World' stops by to address some accusations.
This quirky short from Chris Rourke explores extreme opposites in a witty presentation of idealist and revolutionist views. Two old friends meet for the first time in a while, both representing a different aspect of our world today. One, the ‘idealist,’ works for Amazon and gets one day off every two weeks, can’t sleep on his lunch break and had to book this day off five months in advance, only to be called in to work anyway. The other, a ‘revolutionary,’ lives his life without much planning and bunks with several other people in his rented apartment. The two bash heads over their views, before another individual arrives; ‘the richest man in the world,’ an evil head of the Amazon machine who doesn’t recognise people for being… people. Oh Jeff! takes this pretty plain and boring concept and makes it somewhat entertaining, if only for its ridiculously OTT delivery and performances.
Nick Andrew Hutchinson and Kyle Strang act against each other on a back porch (shot entirely during COVID lockdown, hence the location choice) with immense, feverish charm. As Oh Jeff! experiments with everything it has to say — which may or may not be very clear — the escalating tension rises as scenes become more and more ludicrous and strange. There’s a dream-like vision being toyed with here, and it’s so bizarrely intriguing. I only wish Parquor, Rourke & Strang’s ideas were more strongly cemented in the script. After the 20-minute mark, you sort of let go and just sit back to see where the film takes you next. The intensity in the music score further accelerates the freaky vibe Oh Jeff! gives off. But beyond the aforementioned feverish nature, it’s hard to find much enjoyment.
Oh Jeff! is of course excelling in its goal to confuse and throw-off the audience. For that, it’s exceptionally well made. That said, it makes it a very messy ride that doesn’t seem to find its footing and it just becomes a stuffy film overflowing with crammed in visual tricks and snappy, nightmarish scenes, one after the other. An admirable directorial debut from Chris Rourke, there’s no doubt. But, a familiar ‘okayish’ vibe flushes over this freaky acid trip which puts it in the same pile as most short films that try a little too hard to be edgy and smart.
It must be said that while it isn’t the most fascinating work, it was written and shot during this global pandemic we’re all facing and that makes it worthy of some praise. If only it had more to say, with more accuracy and strength in its aim and execution.
Watch the trailer for Oh Jeff! below.