Directed by: #StatenCousinsRoe
Written by: #StatenCousinsRoe
In a reality where euthanasia is legal in the UK, clinics have opened up all over the country, and what was once a service, is fast becoming a business, full of the usual bureaucracy and box-ticking. One such clinic, Minnie’s, is struggling for clients and faces having to shut down if it can’t boost its numbers from 0 to the national monthly average of 10 within ten days. An impossibility. But owner Minnie (Poppy Roe), and her unassuming assistant, Maude (Katie Brayben), aren’t the sort of people to go down without a fight. And so, Minnie resorts to less orthodox methods in her quest to boost client numbers and keep her business afloat.
The spiritual predecessor to Staten Cousins-Roe’s phenomenal feature-film debut, A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life (a massive hit at the Grimmfest film festival where I first encountered it), This Way Out is resplendent with the kind of jet-black British humour for which the writer/director is surely now famous. It’s the sort of humour you know you’re going to hell for laughing at, but then laugh anyway because, you know, why not? But, not only that, This Way Out features a very familiar cliff-top location and a good portion of the same crew and cast - Poppy Roe, Katie Brayben and Sarah Ball all feature here. Cousins-Roe has gone on to state that Roe’s and Brayben’s “brilliant chemistry” is what inspired him to write A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life.
It’s a statement I wholeheartedly endorse. As I made clear in my review of that movie back in 2019, It’s the connection, and contrasts, between these two characters which formed the heart of that film. And This Way Out is no different. Both Roe and Brayben are on top form here, and nowhere is that more visible than in the duo’s ability to read one another and the superb comic timing in which that results. The Office-like mockumentary style in which the movie is shot adds an ingenious additional layer of comedy and compliments the actresses’ methods splendidly. At the same time, the dialogue, and the film’s mockery of box-ticking bureaucracy, is as sharp and witty as you’d expect.
This Way Out is an extraordinarily funny examination of the ethical dilemma of euthanasia, the effects of red tape on public services, as well as a damn fine example of modern, British comedic filmmaking in general. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is one of the best comedies I’ve seen for many, many years, and This Way Out, one of the best shorts. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!