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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Short films at Festival Central (4) - Man in Fear (2011)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

2 December

* Contains spoilers *

Director / writer : Will Jewell

This film gives a delightful interchange between a constable manning a desk in the station (Tim Healy, credited by IMDb as Sargent (sic) Brown, though he does not, as I recollect, have a Sergeant’s stripes) and the film’s protagonist Anthony Fox (Luke Treadaway), which, whilst not literally at the centre of Man in Fear, at least gives us an insight into what Fox fears.

Not in a derivative way, I was reminded of a scene in Luc Besson’s Angel-A (2005), where a similar desperation leads AndrĂ© Moussah (Jamel Debbouze) to seek arrest in the cells as sanctuary (equally, there’s Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life), but Healy’s PC was delightfully erudite, delightfully abrupt, and simply, in a superbly bluff British way, not willing to entertain what he was being told or what was done. (Not until afterwards, anyway.)

Beforehand, Treadaway brought us all the early fluster from North by Northwest (1959) of trying to prove the reality of what is happening to him, only to find that no one wants to listen, of being confronted by this PC who throws Damien Hirst and his suspended sharks in his face. In between, is the audience, to whom Fox's paranoia is palpable, and in whose hands - almost - his character’s fate seems to lie.

Much more so than Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), evading the fate of being Kaplan, Fox has a sense of vulnerability, of being – unsympathetically - thought to be in psychosis, when maybe his big overspilling bundle shows what he says…

A palpable playing with the borderline between being ‘in fear’ and what others will make of one’s fear, this film is a gem, given 9.0 on IMDb.

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