(Matthew Holness, 2011)
(Available online at Film4)
Much like his Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace co-writer Richard Ayoade before him, whose sensational filmmaking debut Submarine (2011) was met with deserved acclaim, Matthew Holness writes, directs and stars in A Gun for George (2011), a sombre short film about the reflections and frustrations of being an artist nobody remembers, nor cares for.
Holness plays the protagonist Terry Finch, a man fallen out of synch with a forbidding society and his own sense of rationality. Author of the forgotten pulp revenge paperback The Reprisalizer – whose titular hero dolls out rough, “lone-wolf justice to the mean streets and postal pathways of Thanet” – Finch spends his days writing stories in his isolated caravan in Kent, all the while attempting to flog his box of previous works to local retailers, who have already grown tired of his schlocky prose and unsubtle storytelling. Believing his bargain basement crime tomes to be works of prime fiction, Finch refuses to accept his ailing career as a writer has already vastly diminished, and as memories of his brother’s death continue to haunt him, his grasp of the boundaries between reality and fantasy become blurred, making way for the potential opportunity for life to imitate art.
With a similar eye for comedic detail as Holness’s Marenghi outings, A Gun for George is an amusing and sometimes striking glance into the psyche of a man plagued by the past and exasperated by his unstable career. With impressively rendered period sets, costumes and David Rom’s authentically scratchy, evocative cinematography, the short is melancholic and deadpan, a droll package of ideas that, if acting as a primer for further outings, permeates with a wealth of excellent potential.