Directed by Thomas Pickering
Written by James Pickering
Produced by Lauren Bartles
Starring Aaron Cobham, Sam Gannon, Nadine Mulkerrin, and Abigail Uttley
Cinematography by Christoph Gelep
Short film review by Euan Franklin
Within a naked, alabaster apartment sit two men deliberating about their approaches to splitting from their current spouses. Jack (Sam Gannon) is nervous and jittery, likely to fall at the flick of a finger, and Tony (Aaron Cobham) is a self-deluded chauvinist intent on soaring through as many women as possible.
There are always those awkward moments in comedy movies and television shows where disappointment lands in place of the joke, but in professional productions (recent Judd Apatow movies excluded) the editing and cinematography adheres to the comic pacing of the scene. This allows a certain degree of forgiveness from the audience. The most surprising aspect of The Break Ups is that Thomas Pickering is able to maintain humour as well as timing, which is exemplary considering their low budget.
Every shot in Christopher Gelep’s cinematography is meticulous, demonstrating as much attention to the conventional shot/reverse shot as those that are innovatively crafted for the comedy. An awkward shot with Jack trying to break up with Marie (Nadine Mulkerrin), with his head between her legs, is a compositional highlight.
Pickering’s editing should also be admired, considering the complexity involved in cross-cutting between characters at three different times in three different locations. This succeeds in heightening the humour instead of confusing the audience, which this method could’ve easily done.
Some of the jokes, however, suffer from the error of confusion. One such example is when Tony, passively prompted by Jack to rap, proceeds to stand and dance like a crab on cocaine. I will honestly confess my inexperience within the hip-hop arena, but I’m sure the said artists fight with their voices and not their elbows. The subsequent result is a punchline without a context. Or maybe it was an inside joke shared by the cast and crew, inaccessible to the audience they’re trying to amuse. Either way, the joke was as opaque as the alabaster wall behind them.
Most of the comedy relies on Aaron Cobham and Sam Gannon, who convey their characters with near-perfect clarity – overshadowing their amateur counterparts (Mulkerrin and Abigail Uttley).
In spite of the minor imperfections, The Break Ups has been constructed with enough strength and confidence to pass for a professional skit. I’m only disappointed that there isn’t more to come.