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Microwave Minute

average rating is 4 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Feb 15, 2024

Film Reviews
Microwave Minute
Directed by:
Harvey Gardner, Arthur Johnson
Written by:
Arthur Johnson, Harvey Gardner, Michael McGurk
Mackenzie Paterson,

It’s no secret that in this current era there is a crisis of masculinity, and concurrently, in a way that is very linked, an epidemic of male loneliness. There is, at least ostensibly, a lack of male role models exhibiting those traits that are considered traditionally masculine, and as our definitions of masculinity are changing at a slower rate, this has left a vacuum of those that fit into both the aforementioned categories. As a result, a growing number of men are isolated, experiencing a loneliness that leads to indoctrination into violence and other hateful ideologies, as shown, rather tactfully, by ‘Microwave Minute’


Directed by Harvey Gardner and Arthur Johnson, ‘Microwave Minute’ begins with Michael McGurk’s character, named Mike, introducing himself at the start of a video, with the opening ‘Hey lone wolves, welcome back to Mike’s Microwave Minute Morsels’. Mike is a fairly charismatic content creator, specialising in baked goods, teaching his viewers how to make cookies in the microwave in just one minute. Mike’s video is interspersed with a series of unnerving closeups of another man, Charlie played by Mackenzie Paterson, pigging out on the sofa as he watches and follows Mike’s video, reciting it word for word.


Charlie’s loneliness has become an obsession with Mike’s Microwave Minute Morsels, to the point where, in a chilling, uncanny scene, Charlie himself becomes the presenter of Charlie’s Microwave Minute Morsels. His show has a more sinister, aggressive edge, with a slightly crazed side to it. He nods at his imaginary audience as he says ‘I love you guys’, words which, steeped in loneliness, he longs to say, but has nobody to say it too. Charlie has been lulled by Mike’s video address to ‘lone wolves’, and being such a ‘lone wolf’ himself, has become obsessive over this man whom he feels that he can relate to.


Harvey Gardner and Arthur Johnson direct the film effectively, with the close up shots early on establishing a critical sense of unease that is sustained throughout in the eerie, uncanny set of Charlie’s video, in which the lights are a little too harsh, and the set a little too clean, contrasted with the dank, messy room in which Charlie really lives. Charlie is a lonely man, who has found somebody he finds relatable, and maybe even inspiring, yet, due to his loneliness and tattered mental state he has become obsessive over Mike.


Johnson and Gardner penned the script for the film alongside one of its stars Michael McGurk, and the screenplay subtly creates these sinister undertones which make the conclusion of ‘Microwave Minute’ all the more shocking and alarming. McGurk is solid as the charismatic Mike, but Mackenzie Paterson gives an excellent performance leading as Charlie, particularly in the faux video (which we can assume occurs within his head). He is unnerving through the exaggerations in his voice, and his evidently deceptive smile, behind which rests only contempt and anger at the world.


‘Microwave Minute’ is an enthralling short film, unnerving in all the right ways and with a potent examination on male loneliness.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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