Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Crush

Directed and written by Michael Creagh
Ireland, 2010, 15 minutes

I first saw this film earlier this year at E Street Cinema when they showed all five live-action and all five animated Oscar nominated shorts. This was one of the live-action shorts that left a big impact on me in terms of how much I enjoyed it. This film tells the story of eight year-old Ardal who presents a toy engagement ring to his teacher to show his affection for her. Later, he learns that Ms. Purdy has just gotten engaged for real to her boyfriend, Pierce. However, Pierce won't even take her out to celebrate and so Ardal challenges him to a duel. Pierce mockingly accepts. The next day, Ardal meets Pierce after school and pulls out the gun he got from his dad's closet. Ms. Purdy tries to intervene but Ardal won't let her and as he keeps insisting that the gun isn't a toy, Pierce is driven to a crying mess and finally admits that he only proposed to shut Ms. Purdy up. Ardal shoots him, revealing that the gun was only a toy and Ms. Purdy break up with him, taking Ardal's hand to walk him home. Ardal then reveals he doesn't have a crush on her any longer but that she deserves someone who can give her everything.

This film is very rough around the edges but in all the ways that it endears itself towards the audience, it easily makes up for that. It does not have the class of other short films, perhaps, but it does have the heart which is what made me enjoy it so much. Ardal is a protagonist that the audience can easily root for. What left the impression on me was how, at first, simplistic the story was and easy to relate to, and then suddenly it took a turn for the dramatic! Films are always able to get away with the absurd simply by the fact that they aren't real. While this isn't an absurd film in the sense that it's "out of this world" necessarily, the relative quickness with which the plot progresses makes the audience gasp in entertainment.

That was absolutely one of the aspects that Creagh hit right on the head. This film was, at its core, entertaining and when it comes to films, that is the number one thing I look for. I want to be enthralled and taken away from reality for just a little while. The Crush does just that by endearing its characters (or most of them) almost immediately to the audience, drawing them in and investing them. When I mentioned that this film was rough around the edges, I meant that in the sense of comparing it to its fellow nominees this year. This film is nothing new in terms of cinematic experiences. However, not every film needs to be the next Inception. As gratifying as watching a film such as that is, there is also an immense amount of satisfaction to be held in the simplest stories told well. This film gets straight to the point and leaves little to the imagination but those aspect don't necessarily have to be cons. In fact, I'm of the mind that with a film like this, the simpler the better.

1 comment:

haley schattner said...

This short film is an emotional trip. I think I am still on edge from it. I agree, it is a little rough around the edges, but it's the roughness that creates character for this film. I love that this film explores the idea of crazy parents. The parents at the dinner table discuss a boy with a crossbow, but do not question or advise their child on growing up and having crushes.