Jonathan’s Chest


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Jonathan's Chest
"With three strong performances, a great score, and a crisp eye, Jonathan's Chest conceals riches."

Alex and his mother have had an argument, but the low tones and hooded figures outside suggest something more. An exercise in the creation of mystery, Jonathan shows his chest to Alex, but we don't see it. We don't see lots of things - instead we are given clues, but minimally, hints, but small ones, suggestions, intimations - aftermath and not precursor, effect, but not cause.

Christopher Radcliff's film is riddled with implication, riddles of implication. Birgit Huppuch conveys a lot in look and gesture, as her son Owen Campbell brings some of the same intensity he had as the young Jesco in White Lightnin'. As Jonathan, briefly, Tobias Campbell brings answers to questions unasked, questions that will remain unanswered.

Copy picture

The lack is the strength of the film, but also its weakness - it doesn't give quite enough to lead down paths to answers, not enough false trails, red herrings - but there is a conclusion, and it's not too much to say it's not a happy one.

Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans contribute musically. They also scored Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal in a CV that's full of shorts, and it's a powerful part of a work that doesn't quite gel. In its attempts to convey by implication it could do with giving the audience another nudge, or perhaps acknowledging its mystery with a wink, or, indeed, offering more mysteries, or indeed a little more - it's not short on ideas, but it is, perhaps, too short. With three strong performances, a great score, and a crisp eye, Jonathan's Chest conceals riches, but obscured by an otherwise admirable minimalism, as without enough clues it is a treasure that remains buried.

Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2015
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Everything changes for Alex, a troubled teenage boy, when he is awoken one night by someone claiming to be his brother, who disappeared years earlier.

Director: Christopher Radcliff

Writer: Christopher Radcliff

Starring: Owen Campbell, Tobias Campbell, Birgit Huppuch

Year: 2014

Runtime: 15 minutes

Country: US, France


GSFF 2015

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