Feb 22, 2022
Style Dayne, Elly Gerspacher, Devlin Horth, Paisley Betcher
Sometimes it feels like those in the East just don't get us over here in the West. It feels like they look over at us from their post-communist oligarchy and think that we are all godless, gluttonous libertines living out our selfish, consumerist lives without a firm hand to guide us. And you know what? – they might be right – but also they just don't seem to get us. Maybe if they were able to let loose a little more, have a bit more fun in their lives, experience some of the holidays that we enjoy just for the sheer hell of it, then maybe we could reach across continents and find a common ground for all of us – one where we can all dress up as our fantasies, offer jokes, songs and dances to our neighbours in exchange for gifts, and eat our own bodyweight in chocolate. Just think how easy world peace would be then.
Strangely, it appears that this may have been the thought process writer/director Lee Chambers went through when putting together his latest short, Wicked Plans. Taking place on a dark, still Hallowe'en night we follow a lone man as he makes his way to a big house in an affluent neighbourhood. Quickly, we find out that he is a man on a mission, a suicide bomber, come to teach the West a lesson by wiping out a prominent Senator who also works in intelligence. It should, however, be clearly stated that the bomber is not in fact Russian, but (as the legal team would have it) a citizen of the fictional realm of Amadajiya, which nevertheless gives him a stock Eastern European accent.
Unused to the ways of the West the lone bomber doesn't quite realise that he may have picked the wrong night to carry out his attack. The streets are busy, there are children everywhere and just as he has finally pepped himself up enough to approach the Senator's door a Hulk, a vampire and a fairy princess appear on the porch beside him. Things really are not going his way.
As a farce, the beauty of Chambers' short lies in how he takes a dangerous, inflammatory situation and turns it into something humorous and silly. Naturally none of us are on the bomber's side, but we do begin to feel for him in a bumbling Mr Magoo or Mr Bean sort of a way as he struggles with the conflict between his ideals and the reality of the situation on the ground. The conversation between the kids and the bomber is naïve and honest and ultimately sparks a friendship that could soften even the hardest heart into giving others a fair hearing or a second chance.
Everyone plays their parts beautifully, especially the children who are always natural and engaging. The direction and cinematography are both spot on with an excellent aerial opening shot and great use of lighting to add levity to the darkest of themes. The music too, from Ross Nykiforuk, manages to hit all the right notes and create a spooky, but not too spooky, atmosphere.
Everything in Wicked Plans builds up to the big reveal, where the bomber is set to carry out his task, and when it does come it is electrifyingly brilliant. It shouldn't be possible to laugh so much and take such joy from so dark a situation, but Chambers manages to take us from start to finish on a rollercoaster of hilarity which might just shine a light on the ridiculousness of certain views in world politics.
In a world where peace hangs by a thread and extremist views are taking over large sections of the media, Chambers reminds us that it's important to step back from it all every once in a while, to point and laugh at the ridiculous inconsistencies within, and remember that if we can find the things which connect us and bring us together then there will be no need for violent action.
Not bad for a five minute short.