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Barry Versus The Binman

average rating is 4 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Dec 21, 2023

Film Reviews
Barry Versus The Binman
Directed by:
Craig Moore
Written by:
Craig Moore
Graham Earley, John Connors

Perhaps the most regularly stressful part of any adult’s week is bin day. Which bins are being collected? Will they accept our cardboard recycling if it’s above the height of the bin? And don’t get us started on the food waste bin that looks like it needs napalming. Filmmaker Craig Moore has captured this intense frustration we all feel with his plucky and entertaining short film, Barry Versus the Binman.

Graham Earley stars as the titular Barry, a morose thirty-something who lives alone in his house surrounded by empty beer cans and whose only company seems to be the irritating neighbour Shane (John Connors) down the road, with whom he argues over the early use of the latter’s leaf blower (8 am is indeed ridiculous for that sort of thing!). However, it is Barry’s weekly encounter with his binmen that becomes the thing to tip him over the edge into a fully psychotic ordeal. They keep leaving his bin down the road! Even though it clearly has his number on it. The fiends.

Earley absolutely shines in this role. Drawing us in through his humorous portrayal of Barry and then compelling us with the darker and more pathos-laden moments. Connors is also fabulous as the annoying neighbour, and the two enjoy a sort of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles kind of chemistry.

Barry Versus the Binman has a delightful filmmaking style. From the Edgar-Wright-influenced quick-cut transitions to the dramatic orchestral soundtrack, this is a short film heightened for big laughs. Indeed, the scene where Barry chases the bin lorry through the streets whilst Shane laughs on maniacally is a particular highlight.

Barry’s struggle to overcome his anger at his neighbour, the binmen, and the world at large reveals a deeper layer of thematic storytelling here that audiences are able to engage with. His mental health gets mentioned and it’s a film that uses an array of devices to examine this central character’s situation in life to get us thinking about how commonplace annoyances can become far bigger challenges for someone not in the right headspace. A particular dream sequence threatened to plunge this short into the thriller territory which would have been a bold move.

Dramatically, the film touches upon Barry’s partner leaving him (Shane makes a comment about a man with three legs “two for walking” and there are pictures of a lady on the mantle) but this isn’t really explored to its fullest potential. Viewers may find it difficult to find the reasoning behind Barry’s elaborate reaction to the binman’s misdeed, or at least yearn for a little more of the storyline to go along with this excellent piece of comedy filmmaking.

Overall, it's a successful executed and enjoyable comedy film that hints at a lot of future filmmaking potential for those in front of and behind the camera.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Short Film
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