I'll Be Right Here

I'll Be Right Here


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Moffat is a screenwriter. He is allegedly in LA. He is not quite right in the head. He is here to meet Steven Spielberg, and he is practising - he's made an icon of him out of a photograph and plasticine. Michael is the bellhop, old, worried, angry. Moffat might not have a grasp of reality, but he ends up with a hold over Michael. It does not go well.

Films about film-making, about film-makers, tread difficult ground. At their best they are ludic, at worst onanistic. With Moffat apparently absconded, telling his mother he has gone to LA to pitch a sequel to E.T., it's messy. The room is messy, the language on occasion filthy, and the grasp of reality weak.

As Moffat, Stephen McCole (from BBC Scotland's High Times) isn't bad, but at times the mixture of boundless optimism, Glasgow accent, and the absence of reason recall some of the grotesqueries from Limmy's World Of Glasgow (and its televised follow-up Limmy's Show). He's got a good line in nervousness, an unconfident telephone manner and difficulty with the word 'dauphinoise'. Opposite him Angus McInnes manages to achieve the desperation of a man too old for the job he is in. The quality of their performances elevates what sits behind. The fact that Angus plays Michael with an American accent would confuse the situation, but the Henry hoover in the hallway says otherwise.

The risk for a film that focuses on film is that it'll reference something that does what it's trying to do better. Here, it's obsession, and while a portrait of Spielberg in ketchup on the wall is something special, it's nothing in comparison to Richard Dreyfuss' mashed potato simulacrum of the Devil's Tower. Two-handers often recall stage productions, and while the number of sets is limited good use is made of them - it's sad that the young woman seen cleaning the halls in brief interludes isn't credited, because those slight vignettes do a lot to contextualise Moffat's incarceration. I'll Be Right Here might have benefited from more time - illustrating Moffat's clumsy sexuality, tortured relationship with his mother, his tenuous grasp on reality and adulthood - all are acheived, but with subtlety akin to assigning leitmotif to bulldozers. It's showing, rather than telling, but it's showing at full volume, hyperexaggeration that here is without a deliberately comic effect.

This is writer and director Gregor Johnstone's second short - his first, The Queen And The Princess, was a pair, one grotesque, in a limited situation - this is little different. As Moffat's behaviour becomes unhinged it seems startlingly remiss of the hotel's management not to call the police, if not psychiatric services. In fairness, a constrained cast is nothing new, but the film seems to shy away from the challenges rather than confront them, and that's a shame.

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2010
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A deranged and delusional screenwriter Moffat is holed up in an LA hotel room, ready to meet his idol Steven Spielberg.
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Director: Gregor Johnstone

Writer: Gregor Johnstone

Starring: Stephen McCole, Angus McInnes

Year: 2010

Runtime: 18 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2010
Glasgow 2011

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