Updated: Jun 27, 2019
Dermot Daly and Ivan Mack’s short film Reverse Darwinism is fun. It is a four-minute rant by a woman who calls herself Professor Vanessa (Kathryn Hanke), whether she is a real professor that’s for the audience to decide but given the place she’s in and her mental state it is a bit difficult to take her seriously.
Professor Vanessa pokes fun at what the human being has become, herself included, but she does give good tips to save humanity (“read books or wank faster”). The film, just like its only character, does not take itself seriously. Kathryn Hanke is very convincing as a woman who is going through a bad break-up and decides to lay out her anger on what we assume is her YouTube channel.
The setting gives Reverse Darwinism its atmosphere – it is filmed in a basement, but with thoughtful touches. Behind Vanessa there’s a shelf with three books and some pens (which I assume she has never used). On the wall there are some pictures of Stephen Hawking (and herself photoshopped together) and Darwin, which seem to have been printed at home – Vanessa’s approach in trying to be the “real deal”. However, right next to her there’s a bin and a washing machine with wires everywhere. It looks like a bunker she would take people during an alien invasion (which she probably would believe). Her clothes and her “props” show that she cares and that she tries hard, perhaps that’s what makes this film interesting. We cannot take her seriously, no matter how much we might want to because we can see that this woman is suffering inside and this is her way of coping with it.
The camera is placed in front of Vanessa and does minimum work – it eventually cuts in on some details but doesn’t even focus on the professor’s face when she moves, probably a touch chosen to make her look even more pathetic.
As said before, the film works well as an enjoyable ensemble – it is fun, it is quick and it makes you laugh!