SXSW Review Skeletons
Director: Nick Whitfield North American Premiere Emerging Visions 94 minutes
Synopsis In this surreal comedy, Davis and Bennett are a mismatched pair of traveling salesmen in the business of cleaning skeletons out of closets. Together they travel across Britain, performing 'the Procedure' whereby secrets and lies are exposed. Bennett is a stickler for the rules and finds that Davis has been using their special procedure illegally to reconnect with comforting moments from his past. Their boss, The Colonel assigns the pair to their biggest challenge yet, a graduation test that could see them moving up the company ladder. But when they arrive at a remote family home and can't get the job done, they discover that you can't always get away from your own skeletons and you can't always leave and never come back.
Director Bio Nick Whitfield grew up in the Fens in the East of England. Initially an actor in theatre, he began writing and performing one-man shows which played across the UK and Ireland, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He then wrote and directed his first short films, Skeletons then followed by Rebecca, which screened at EIFF 2007. SKELETONS is his debut feature, adapted from his short films.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you're looking for something different, with just a little supernatural thrown in, well this is your cup of tea. Plus, you'll get a light dose of British humor.
This is a film that has its moments. Andrew Buckley and Paul Dallison have that old, married couple vibe about them. They're best friends who are in the business of removing skeletons from their customers' closets. No. Not actual skeletons, but the kind of secrets that are kept. Sure, it needs more explaining, but the film doesn't really dive into that. There are some who seem to have the ability to hop into the memories of others. Dark secrets are uncovered, but that doesn't seem to be the focus of this film. Actually, that might be the problem. Even though I liked the film, I'm not sure what the focus actually is of Skeletons. At first, I thought the film needed more of a focus, then hoping from cottage to cottage, on little adventures. Yet, once the film finds its central location, I wasn't hooked. Jason Isaacs comes in and makes a powerful presence as The Colonel. It's the banter that makes this watchable, when I really thought it would be the plot that would have hooked me in.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10