Directed by Brendan Cleaves Starring Seann Walsh and John Bradley Short Film Review by Michael Fiott
Roger is a short and charming comedy starring two beloved British stars, John Bradley renowned for his endearing portrayal of Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones and the brilliantly cynical comedian Seann Walsh. It takes us on a small road trip with Stephen (Walsh) as he returns home after an elongated trip in Mongolia, only to realise that his best friend Roy has seemingly filled the vacant BFF spot with a ventriloquist doll named Roger.
When reading that, I know what you may be thinking; how does a concept like that ever enter somebody’s mind? Let alone give someone the desire to make a short film about it? Well that is exactly what makes this film so appealing, the oddness of its concept is what gives it the majority of its jokes and without it quirkiness we may have been left with yet another buddy road trip comedy.
Compliments for this must be given to writer/director Brendan Cleaves and his co-writer Stuart Foreman, for giving such a commendable effort towards bringing this concept to life, their love for the project shows in every line written and every frame shot. Taking a look at some of the production images from the film’s website, it is very obvious that although there are not many locations used, it still proved to be a taxing and long process to shoot, which only adds to our appreciation for it.
However, the most important part of a comedy is of course it’s writing. Fortunately Cleaves’s and Foreman's jokes and scenarios never seem to miss a step and remain consistent with a jovial and innocent tone throughout. The best running joke is definitely watching Roy’s subtle insanity grow as he holds conversations with Roger, has personal jokes with him and even lets him have the front seat ahead of his returning best friend, an action that most people would avoid when your best friend is the enduringly sarcastic Seann Walsh.
This brings me to their performances which as you can expect were wonderful. Walsh is of course himself in this film; biting, witty and always brings an element of bewilderment towards the actions of others, which was perfect casting for this role. His facial expressions are constantly on the mark as he shows us his absolute disdain for Roy’s new companion. Bradley also puts in a stellar turn with his ability to portray characters so genuinely and warmly that it becomes almost impossible to not like him. Here he acts with a sublime amount of innocence and naivety towards his own relationship with Roger, which is quite frankly rather mental.
I believe that anybody would be able to find some charm in Roger due to its simplicity and wacky concept, it remains human and allows the audience to have a connection with it due to its believable performances and witty writing, a great effort from all the cast and crew.