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average rating is 2 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Feb 17, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Eli Speigel
Written by:
Eli Speigel
Jack Hirschfield, Veronica Slowikowska

Working in the film industry is hard. For many, it’s a fruitless endeavour involving long hours for low pay, and being constantly ordered around by those above you. It can be soul-crushing and break people’s dreams of glitz and glamour, but people persevere because sometimes there’s a happy ending with a successful career doing what they love. ’Mayonnaise’ understands this, but doesn’t probe deeper into the hardships, nor the dreams, and becomes an ultimately fruitless exercise itself.


Written and directed by Eli Speigel, ‘Mayonnaise’ focuses on a film production assistant, Sam, played by Jack Hirschfield, on the set of an advert for some mayonnaise. The advert plays similarly to an M&M ad which has run the past few years and is nothing original stylistically. Nevertheless, it requires a big crew, three production assistants alone, each of them disgruntled by their failure to break further into the industry at this stage in their lives. We hear one PA tell the story of one set where he refused to work with the director, and despite his silent response, it’s clearly working away at Sam’s mind.


Hence his frostiness to the admittedly hypocritical and overbearing production manager who overloads him with orders - ‘make coffee here’, ‘deliver a chair there’, ‘drop off these beers later’. One of his orders is to drive home one of the film’s producers, Sarah (Veronica Slowikowska). The task begins on a familiarly frosty front with Sam reluctant to allow Sarah into his car, and a general lack of conversation once they get on the road. As things take a strange turn, involving one of the best fake-orgasms on screen since Meg Ryan in ‘When Harry Met Sally…’, the film loses its direction, and in turn takes a severe turn away from any dramatic, or even comedic focus.


It becomes quirky for the sake of being quirky, losing its story thread to the point where even Sam is left flabbergasted by the end. Yes, we understand that you’re weird, with a title like ‘Mayonnaise’ we expect that, but that doesn’t mean that you can just completely drop the story in favour of supposedly comedic nonsense under the pretence of being offbeat. ‘Mayonnaise’ is a fairly solid film, it’s definitely well shot, until the car ride takes a weird turn, where it descends into sheer lunacy.


One irritant which persists throughout is the film’s insistence on jump cuts mid-sentence - it may be funny the first time, but it most certainly isn’t the second, third or fourth. On the other hand, the performances of Jack Hirschfield and particularly Veronica Slowikowska are impressive. One subtly says everything with just his worn eyes, the other gloriously overreacting with a script which gives her a lot to chew on.


The issue with ‘Mayonnaise’ is that it’s too full of itself, and consequently ultimately amounts to nothing. A shame given the promise offered early on, and the good performances alongside a competent script. Ultimately meaningless fluff, which once showed early promise would be a good summary of much of the film industry, so perhaps ‘Mayonnaise’s best comment on the business is through its aimlessness.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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