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Picnic Under A Gibbet short film review

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

★★★★

Directed by: Richard Corso

Written by: Rebecca Gorman O'Neill

Starring: Sean Michael Cummings, Cody Dermon, Leonard Barrett Jr., Terry Burnsed

 
Poster for Picnic Under A Gibbet showing animation.
Poster for Picnic Under A Gibbet

Time to take a trip back to the Middle Ages and experience a story involving four individuals (one of whom is dead).


In the countryside, two men, one a jester and the other a fool are chatting and besides them is a hanging cage, inside which is the decomposing body of their king, who lost his life due to an illness that is taking over the land. Underneath the gibbet is a picnic blanket. The two men have opposing opinions regarding how to stay safe from the deadly disease. Then, a plague doctor arrives, claiming to have a cure for the plague and wishes to see the king. The three engage in conversation regarding his permission to speak with his majesty, the malady that everyone fears and whether the time has come to elect a new king.


This short period film is based on the short story by Gregory Ferbrache and it basically is a dark satire. It was filmed on location during the late summer of 2020, which was a time of political uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic. The plot touches on these subjects by involving a lethal illness and elections to its storyline.


Although the story involves a plague and a dead body, the mood is rather humorous and light-hearted, with awkward and funny dialogue. Cummings and Dermon deliver very entertaining and over-the-top performances as two jokers who seem to have reached a point in their lives where they do not know what to do. Both of them appear to be having a lot of fun with their characters.


As far as the mise-en-scene goes, it is quite interesting. The costumes are the work of Jakob O'Grady and they look great. The cage gives the impression that it is authentic and the body of the deceased one looks gruesome. Kevon Ward was responsible for the makeup and and did a good job.


One of the best features here is the music, a wonderful addition by Greth Ligon The score is very entertaining and provides a comedic feeling and might make the audience think of medieval times. It kind of sounds like Danny Elfman's work and it is a pleasure listening to it throughout the film.


The film was shot in black-and-white, giving it a dark atmosphere. Burnsed provides narration and does a convincing job. The directing is well executed and includes closeups of flies moving on food. Special mention goes to the medieval-themed closing credits.


This short is a rather interesting achievement. Thanks to the intriguing plot, jocular performances and dialogue, this dark comedy offers an entertaining experience.

 

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