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average rating is 4 out of 5


Amber Jackson


Posted on:

Mar 2, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Cathal J Ferris
Written by:
Declan Curran
Declan Curran, Lalor Roddy, Shane McCaffrey

Ferran Media presents Birthday, a one shot short film that follows Jerry, a troubled ‘Robin Hood’ type man who seeks to change his struggling community by any means necessary. This is a man that is not shy in undertaking shady business ventures and bargaining with authority to serve his neighbours. Filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and directed by Cathal J Ferris, this foreboding film has layer upon layer of desperation and despair, but also due diligence as Jerry enacts what he believes to be the right and just thing to do as the place that he calls home continues to be neglected by the authorities.


This is Declan Curran’s second short film, after Shine, which is also set in Belfast. However, the tone of Birthday is arguably more bleak and does well to attest to Curran’s writing ability. Throughout the seven minute short, the camera snakes through various rooms taking the viewer through the action and makes the scene feel all the more real and frightening. In giving the impression that the camera is handheld, the intensity of the action is exacerbated to give this immersive and uncomfortable sensation. Towards the start, the camera even struggles to keep up with Jerry, which further adds to the madness. This is definitely an unsettling snapshot in time.


What jumps out at the viewer during this short is the lack of score, forcing those watching to really focus on the sensory aspects of the film. Noises include scraping, walking and breathing, which all contribute to a chilling and eerie atmosphere. We are unfamiliar with where we are and yet Jerry knows exactly where he is and what he needs to do to ensure that his plan of action unfolds. This is a film that engages with very real sounds and experiences to allow its action to thrive.


Birthday is a very well made low-budget film and feels like the start of something great. This could easily be incorporated into a feature-length film, or exist standalone as a slice of life action scene. With brilliant acting and storyline pacing, the viewer is truly given the sense of bitterness within a struggling community and how those within it begin to call the shots and advocate for themselves. Although not the most ethical, Jerry is just a man trying to do the best that he can.


This is a truly gripping short film well worth seeing.

About the Film Critic
Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson
Short Film
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