20 Jul 2022
Andrew Charles Tanner
Rhys Hills, Andrew Charles Tanner
Mark Paul Wake, Sarah Louise Tyler, Boyd Clack
The greatest artistic talents have often claimed that creativity follows destruction. The need to start with a blank page and break a formula is the essence of original thought and expression. But what if this creative process has the effect of excluding a normal existence? That is the question posed in this disturbing film by Andrew Charles Tanner.
Martin Lloyd (Mark Paul Wake) is a thirty something quietly plying his trade as a hotel cleaner. But he has dreams of becoming a writer and creating a masterpiece. His long suffering partner Kate (Sarah Louise Tyler) carefully supports him in his ambitions. Martin has enrolled on a creative writing course and has a fractious relationship with his classmates. However, his tutor Rod Jonas (Boyd Clack) sees something in him and is keen to unleash the potential lurking in a troubled mind.
Martin feels inspiration is close at hand but his moods grow darker. A healthy passion turns into dangerous obsession with no discernible limits. He functions only to create his masterpiece. A series of scribbled notes are pinned to the wall, but a mass of words resemble nothing fully coherent. His relationship with Kate suffers badly as she continually drags him back to reality. Kate remains his greatest advocate and sends his manuscript to a publisher. To her delight they express an interest, but will Martin play the game after so many false dawns?
Masterpiece is a deeply troubling yet strangely compelling piece. It's a bleak depiction of how creativity can define and destroy one's own sense of identity. Martin is arrogant, selfish and oblivious to the feelings of those around him. It's difficult to feel any real sympathy for him. What right does he have to make people's lives a misery and then complain they don't understand him. Kate is a bright and attractive woman; why does she tolerate such behaviour? Affairs of the heart will always carry some contradiction and is played out in painful detail. There could be no doubt who the viewer would be routing for; but they will inevitably feel some curiosity regarding Martin's fate; and that is the secret of good storytelling: to make you care what happens. It's hard to watch but also hard not to watch, because the viewer will be desperate to know the end game. It might be heavy going at times but is well worth the effort.