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Killing Boris Johnson

average rating is 5 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

May 15, 2023

Film Reviews
Killing Boris Johnson
Directed by:
Musa Alderson-Clarke
Written by:
Musa Alderson-Clarke
Shadrach Agozino, Jesse Akele

We have yet to fully experience the artistic reaction to the global pandemic, an event that will likely keep inspiring for years to come as more and more stories reveal themselves - in particularly to filmmakers. Musa Alderson-Clarke’s startling short drama, Killing Boris Johnson, delves into the troubling discussion surrounding the impact Partygate had on UK citizens through one story of suicide and depression.

Shadrach Agozino gives a powerhouse performance playing Kaz, a man whose mother killed herself during the winter lockdown in the UK. We are informed (via video diary entries Kaz makes) that she was known to suffer from severe depression, made worse by not having her family around and by the time of year. At a similar time, it was revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had attended a Christmas party with his staff.

This context is important to understand Kaz’s journey through the film. He is clearly enraged and bitter about the death of his mother and has become obsessed with Johnson’s apology video to the news about being unaware he was breaking lockdown rules. Kaz becomes increasingly unstable, going as far as to start wearing a Boris Johnson mask and performing self-harm, as well as securing a weapon that he plans to use in an assassination.

The heightened emotions of how people coped with Covid give this piece a formidable starting point. This feels like one of a thousand stories we could be watching, a tapestry of tragedy that we are still feeling the after-effects from. Whilst Killing Boris Johnson, as the title implies, has a clear political edge, this is more a human drama than a soapbox stance. Watching Kaz slip down the slippery slope of grief and internal destruction is hugely compelling, enhanced by the incredible performance. His scenes with Jesse Akele, who plays a concerned friend, are loaded with intensity and ring true of the difficulties loved ones will face trying to get through to someone in as bleak a place as Kaz is in.

Whilst the film does certainly dwell on the tragic, there are also small moments of peace and even humour (albeit this could be unintentional). Kaz shutting down a work presentation is pretty funny and when he buys the weapon, the scene has a British charm to it. It is the footage of his mum on the phone, however, that bookends the short film and acts as the lifeline to Kaz and us the viewer amongst all the high-flying emotions.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Short Film
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