Corporate Monster


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Corporate Monster
"What Robinson does well is to build up atmosphere."

Is there something missing in today's cinema, something that we used to expect during turbulent political times? it was there in the Fifties during the early stages of the Cold War and again in the Seventies around the fall of Richard Nixon, so where has all the paranoia gone? Director Ruairi Robinson sets out to make his own in this playfully pessimistic short.

Intended as a calling card which might get him the funding to further explore the world in which it's set, Corporate Monster is free to view on Vimeo or YouTube. It's professionally produced and of much higher quality than you might expect under these circumstances, given the bulk of what's out there. Robinson, who brings a good quantity of experience to the game, has wisely chosen to keep it simple. Pared down like this it makes its point far more effectively, with the only elaborate work coming care of the charmingly named Kaiju Meat Company, who get a sneaky mid-film credit on the back of van containing things you would be better not to think on for too long.

What this more elaborate work depicts is the unexpected world glimpsed by our troubled hero (Kett Turton) after taking pills which are "not quite FDA approved yet." Prescribed by his doctor after a job loss sends the young man into a spiral of depression, they might be causing hallucinations or might be letting him see what has really been there all along. Naturally the film owes a heavy debt to They Live and there are references made to this in both the action and the dialogue, but Robinson eschews the black comedy of John Carpenter's work in favour of an all-out anxious paranoia that has more in common with the likes of Don Siegel's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. Jenna Coleman is sympathetic as the girlfriend trying to bring her man back to normality without getting too close to the madness of it all herself.

This kind of plot inevitably has limited options and though Robinson has a couple of tricks up his sleeve it's still pretty predicable. What he does well is to build up atmosphere and persuade us to feel something for his protagonist even at his worst, as well as leaving that final question hanging: in the hierarchies of today's world, does it really make a difference whether or not those in power are literally monsters?

Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2019
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A man taking new medication begins to see monsters around him in positions of power, controlling the world - but are they real or is he hallucinating and at risk of becoming a monster himself?

Director: Ruairi Robinson

Writer: Ruairi Robinson, Eoin Rogers

Starring: Kett Turton, Jenna Coleman

Year: 2019

Runtime: 17 minutes

Country: US


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