Some if not most of you might be asking right now “What the hell is this, Markus? What’s goin’ on?”. Relax, I’m going to explain. I was one of not many people to receive the honor of getting to see this little short film before it’s released to the rest of the public. So that’s pretty big for me, a small town dude who just happens to be running a blog where movies occasionally get reviewed. Just don’t expect this to become a regular thing… reviews of short films, I mean. Call this a special occasion.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Harlequin”.
Charles (Kenton Hall) is a clown. But he isn’t your normal “nice guy who makes kids happy” clown. He has some mental issues going on. And these issues seem to manifest themelves around the time of a performance he is setting up. And that’s about all I can say. It’s a bit difficult to tackle the plot of a short since it is just that… short. So there’s not much that can truly be said about it. I’ll give it this: It intrigued me a lot. There’s definitely some really interesting stuff going on here. I could definitely see this as a full length feature. But seeing as it is as surreal as it is, on such a short runtime, I can’t really say much about it plotwise. I was intrigued and I was invested in it which is a testament to the talent of the writer/director, but I can’t really talk about it as in depth as most regular movies.
There aren’t many actors in the movie. There are a total of four, but only one should really be focused on: Kenton Hall. This is because he’s the only one that gets enough space to the point that I can look at his performance. And to give credit where credit is due… he’s really good in this. Not Oscar worthy or something like that… but he’s really good in this independent short film about a crazy clown man. He’s really good, and the supporting actors do fine in their very minor roles.
The music in this short film help set a pretty eerie atmosphere in a way that actually kind of symbolizes the mess that is Charles’ mind. Sure, the music is not as thought-provoking and symbolic as in other movies, but I honestly don’t think that it’s the point. The music here is meant to help show that nothing is as it seems while also setting a pretty eerie mood. And that is a plus for this little thing.
“Harlequin” was written and directed by Jakob Lewis Barnes, a man who’s very passionate about film and the art of filmmaking. Me and Jakob have communicated a lot on twitter and I think that he’s a really cool dude. But I’m not gonna let my positive experiences with Jakob cloud my judgment of his directing and writing. And it’s really well directed and well written. The writing presents the interesting stuff with Charles and his mental health, and it kept me intrigued. And the directing was really good as well. I mean, for someone who’s on such a small budget and with no major stuff under his belt he did a pretty great job. You can tell from the shots we get that something is a bit odd here, kind of like with the music choices. And that of course helps the short a lot and makes it really interesting. Again, I am basing this on the small budget that this pretty clearly was on. And while not really related to the directing itself, there’s a fun little clown-related easter egg in this that I thought was kind of fun.
I can’t really judge “Harlequin” like I do most normal, full length features. To tell you the truth, I had to think carefully how I would judge this thing. Then after some thinking I figured it out… I think. The pretty minor plot presented is intriguing, the performance from Kenton Hall is really good, the music choices are good, and the directing is pretty good. I can’t really give it any of my normal ratings since it’s such a different thing for me to review, so all I can really do is say whether I recommend it or not. *Drumroll*. Yeah, I recommend it. If you want to see something kinda weird but still really interesting, I recommend that you watch it. Although you’ll have to wait until it is released for the public in late October or something (Not entirely sure to be honest). If you want to keep up with it, follow the JumpCut Uk Productions twitter account. Keep in mind that I do recommend it.
My review of “Harlequin” is now completed.