Dropping Off Michael


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Dropping Off Michael
"We're given enough to guess, and it's more powerful for it."

Michael (Michael McCardie) is collected by his uncle Duncan, a blustering Brian McCardie, all worn features and furtive bundles of notes handed over. A last day of freedom for Michael, a "best day", a day before his days become the same. "You only really do two days", the day you go in and the day you get out - but that's according to Duncan, and things were different "in [his] day".

Confidently directed, well written, possessed of a particular Glaswegian authenticity that starts with the language (not shy of a 'fuck' or 12) and continues to the mixture of desperation and tawdriness that characterises its gangland - menacings to baby-faced bartenders, pride in a pristine Honda CR-V, 'treats' of excessive alcohol, of £9.99 "gourmet burgers", prostitution procured as an act of nepotism. Michael just wants to see Donna, before he goes away. He wants a lot of things, but his options are becoming limited.

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Zam Salim's eye and James Price's words are strongest when Michael snaps, a rousing two-handed confrontation of escalating anger, pride, pathos - pleas become threats become frustration become desperation - all the stronger because the resolve displayed does not become resolution. Limited in scope, it alludes where other films might have shown, told, and that's to its credit. We're given enough to guess, and it's more powerful for it.

Winner of the audience award at 2015's Glasgow Short Film Festival, it deserves plaudits aplenty, and is an indicator of real talent, both behind and in front of the camera. A triumph of small details, rewarding keen observation because it is itself keenly observed, Dropping Off Michael is bleak, defiant, brilliant.

Reviewed on: 16 Mar 2015
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Michael attempts to enjoy his last night of freedom, but his uncle is up to something.

Director: Zam Salim

Writer: James Price

Starring: Michael McCardie, Brian McCardie, Felicity Allen, Maureen Carr, Kevin Main

Year: 2014

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: UK


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