Written & Directed by #PeterLeeScot
What goes on in the mind of a courtroom sketch artist? Considering the painstaking task at hand, most people would be right to guess probably not much really. Peter Lee Scott invites us to imagine otherwise in Sketch, a 2018 Best Film Winner at the British Independent Film Festival.
In a bored courtroom, artist Anne (Claire Cage) completes her daily drawing duties whilst dodging the advances of a sleazy guard (Cavin Cornwall) and the imagined jibes of her grumbling mother (Nuala Walsh). However, some much-needed distraction soon arrives with the entrance of hunky convict Simon (Glen Fox).
Amusingly, Sketch turns out to be exactly just that; an 11-minute juxtaposition of the mundane with surreal fantasy. Besides the judge, everyone else is disinterested in the trial proceedings. The judicial assistants snooze through the scene. The defendant is catatonic and has to be whisked away out of the dock. Among all this, no-one even notices the erratic behaviour of Anne as she rambles to thin air before escaping the groans of her omniscient mother by sliding back into her world of music. Then, the fun begins. Simon is brought in and Scott allows Anne’s fantasies to begin to take over; in her mind, the duo disco dance, she sketches them in naughty passion and then flaunters her lust. To Simon, she’s a mad woman in the middle of an empty courtroom. Walsh then returns with the film’s best joke. “Coming on a bit strong, aren’t you love? At least the drawings are getting more interesting though”.
Set in 1979, writer-director Scott opens with the spirit of the eighties; pink neon titles intercut with shots of Walkman-wearing Anne’s latest illustration. Scott’s centrepiece is a 2-minute set-piece of Cage and Fox dirty dancing to Funky Town. Overlong, it’s virtually a music video in itself. Of course, for Anne it’s a pure fantasy that’s only finally halted by another one; the reappearance of her ever-moaning mother. Simon is led away, but in comes another chained charmer and the whole set-up begins again.
Slick, simple and fun, Sketch is a well-made entry in the prolific Scott’s impressive canon of short film. Certainly, Walsh comes out as the piece’s scene-stealer whilst Cage and Fox clearly have ample fun on the dance-floor. And, whilst it shoots more at the bizarre than for brilliance, Cage’s duet with fantasy is probably truer of us than we would like to think.