(spoiler free)

“A day in the life of a pathetic clown, as his mental issues begin to consume him and cause his final performance to spiral out of control.”

Earlier this year JumpCut UK Productions brought us their very first short film in the form of ‘Layla’. This short film was a fantastic debut and in my review I commented on how it showcased much promise for future projects from this production company. Only months later in the same year as this debut JumpCut UK now bring us ‘Harlequin’ the second short film, from a clearly very talented bunch.

One of the first things that struck me after watching ‘Harlequin’ is the love and appreciation for film that writer and director Jakob Lewis Barnes has. Throughout the short film you may notice influences on his style of direction, he uses these wonderfully through his narrative and film making enhancing his original ideas and creativity. Despite lasting just under the seven minute mark ‘Harlequin’ achieves much and uses every second valuably. The narrative whilst appearing quite simple has many aspects to it and will raise questions from it’s audience engaging them and encouraging re-watches just like some of the best loved films of cinema culture today. The narrative is communicated in many different ways, visually and audibly, striking a well rounded balance of the two. Kenton Hall was the man entrusted with bringing the complex character of Charles the clown to life and he does so wonderfully. If Jared Leto isn’t fussed on returning as The Joker for DC’s next comic book movie, Hall might be receiving a call. He brings so much to this role and performs the directors vision with accuracy and enthusiasm. 

Whilst the narrative is more than enough to stimulate viewers here the craftsmanship in terms of the film making can’t go unnoticed. Due to the nature of the narrative, there was a lot of pressure in terms of the costume and make-up to create the right look for Charles. Beth Westwood who was in charge of make-up for the film has done a wonderful job achieving some incredibly striking visuals as a result. I mentioned earlier that this film communicates both visually and audibly and it was great to see, but more importantly hear, the collaboration of JumpCut UK with Andrew Stamp for the music featured in ‘Harlequin’. Both Stamp’s original music and the soundtrack contribute a lot to the atmosphere of the film and inject pace where needed. The selection of music is quite clever here as the team behind ‘Harlequin’ know when it needs to be in the forefront and when it needs to be in the background.  A combination of these aspects and some brilliant editing means that there are several really beautiful shots in this film that will last much longer in your memory than just the seconds that are allocated to them on screen.

The progression from ‘Layla’ is impressive to say the least, however ‘Harlequin’ is so different from its predecessor that it feels unfair to compare them. It is so exciting to see a young directors vision brought to life in such an effective way and one that can be subject to much discussion and interpretation. Barnes has utilised his team fantastically well creating a thought provoking, visually delicious and honest short film which should be necessary viewing for all fans of film.

Rating – 9/10

You can watch ‘Harlequin’ HERE

Question: What is your favourite short film?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.

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