Pockets

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If years of watching film has taught me anything at all, it can be condensed into these salient points: don’t pee on a guy’s rug, and that you should never, under any occasion, agree to be in an ‘art film’ (see A Serbian Film for details. Or rather, don’t). Added into that list is a new addition: never try and mug a magician. Commissioned by Dazed Digital, (the ultimate bastion of cool – besides Gorilla Film Magazine, of course) and part of the Channel 4 Random Acts Series, comes the delightfully twisted Pockets from the incredibly talented minds of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert aka DANIELS.

This tale of a homeless man trying to steal the wallet from a chap who turns out to have magical pockets is one of those awesome concept-driven short films that you can’t help but love despite the occasional flaw. With a lack of anything to eat besides the snack form of Bath Salts – Hot Pockets – the desperate man attempts to steal from a passerby. Little does our wannabe criminal know that the pockets in his coat link to every other pocket in the world. What ensues is a vicious game of cat and mouse between the two characters as we see geek revenge writ large.

Doing a rather duplicitous job of playing with expectations of morality and audience sympathy, we see the magician going above and beyond in order to exact revenge on the robber (going after the innocent girlfriend is never going to lead to a happy conclusion). It’s hard to have much of an affinity for a character that decides to rob at knife-point, but the heavy-handed response quickly turns the prey into the predator. When you look at it like that, the Short gives a fairly accurate view of humanity, but on a narrative basis, the plot feels hollowed when ultimately it feels like two unlikable characters are attacking each other via wormhole-connected pockets.

The ending of the piece feels far too rushed, which is quite a shame, given the pitch-perfect pacing up to that point. Furthermore, the cheap joke that rounds off the film further emphasises how the makers wanted to move in the direction of farce, a decision that seems rather glib given the quality of the production up to the denouement. You could possibly read a strain of parody in the ending, giving a wry wink to how Short Films can so easily be overbearingly po-faced, particularly with the reference to Fight Club as the buildings explode in the background of the couple. Talking of which, if I see one more reference to that film I may well start inviting filmmakers to a fight club where I can beat them with their own scripts: first rule of fight club, don’t allude to this.

Honourable mention for the brilliant use of The Abbasi Brothers’ ‘Mr Boe’ (wrongly titled ‘Abassi’ on the video description and ‘Abbassi’ in the credits – but hey, pedantry is not for everyone).

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