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Critically Acclaimed

average rating is 4 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Sep 5, 2022

Film Reviews
Critically Acclaimed
Directed by:
Thomas Loone
Written by:
Thomas Loone
Thomas Loone, Mia Mills

Imagine a gritty British drama, set in the dark, urban environment of Scotland - a far cry from the picturesque view many have of the area. It sounds a lot like ‘Trainspotting’, but imagine ‘Trainspotting’ through the veins of Ken Loach, Mike Leigh or Jim Sheridan. That’s the film which ‘Critically Acclaimed’ tantalisingly taunts you with in the beginning, and although you know that it must end, you don’t want it to. The good thing is that ‘Critically Acclaimed’ doesn’t dramatically nosedive after an exhilarating opening, instead gently plateauing over the remainder of its runtime into an effective commentary on the other side of fame.


The star at the forefront of the piece is Jim (played by Thomas Loone, who also directed and wrote the short), who has just delivered an impressive performance in an upcoming film, and has been heralded as the ‘next Fassbender’ in overwhelmingly positive early critic reviews. Life seems to be on the up for Jim, he’s been paid a lot for the film, and is garnering the attention of the press - doing interviews for all your daytime TV shows.


There’s another side to fame, however, and it’s a side that many fail to adapt to. The false niceties of the interviewee, Cassandra Higgins (played by Mia Mills), who hasn’t even seen the film, and the onslaught of inane questions turn out to be the straw which breaks the camel’s back and brings out Jim’s anxieties. Jim’s already become alienated from his friends due to his newfound fame, and is struggling to adapt to the spotlight. With a pressing agent, who clearly doesn’t have Jim’s best interests at heart, he’s slowly finding himself falling in on himself, and seeing the rough side of his new career.


Perhaps the best thing about ‘Critically Acclaimed’ is the fact that were this short to do well, and Thomas Loone’s fabulous performance to be recognised, it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine him in the same situation a couple of years from now. It certainly deserves to do well, and Loone certainly deserves the recognition his performance is controlled and measured, showing us the panic in his mind as he’s scared of how people will judge him for the interview answers, with the tell-tell sign being in his eyes, which are scared and constantly flickering upwards. In the film-within-a-film he’s a more engaging character - confident and decisive - but he easily switches mannerisms to the quiet, toned-down Jim. Loone’s direction is strong and steady, though is the weakest of his three roles as the writing far excels it - delivering a clear, concise, to-the-point screenplay, the kind Jim’s PR would be very fond of.


The only stumbling block for the film is in some disappointing supporting performances and a slight tail-off towards its conclusion, which feels out of character with the rest of the film, and doesn’t quite deliver the sharp message which the rest of ‘Critically Acclaimed’ so wonderfully sets up. Nevertheless, it is a film which, like the film it features, should have critics gushing, especially over its central performance, and should propel Thomas Loone onto a path similar to his character.


About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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