|Raindance Film Review: Wonder (short)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Sunday, 30 September 2012 10:07|
Director: Johnny Daukes
All is quiet but there’s no peace. It’s seems that Wonder has finally ceased.
Johnny Daukes was at Raindance last year with the rhyming-couplets feature film Acts of Godfrey – which I really liked. After an in-depth interview with him, I discovered that he was a musician as well. Not just that – a really good musician. So it’s only fitting that he’s back at Raindance this year with Wonder, a short film inspired by a string of new songs.
It’s all been take. And never give…
Wonder traces the lines of four couples as they start to splinter. Simon (Henry Goodman) is a business-obsessed art dealer who pays no attention to his wife. On the other side of the canvas is young Jay Simpson, whose burgeoning success leaves his ageing partner feeling irrelevant. Each story is shot through with a sense of loss, none more so than Neil (Neil D’Souza). He's lost his job and is losing his partner after converting to Islam - a decision that has left him losing himself altogether.
Thoughtfully acted and simply told, Daukes lets each strand speak for itself, gradually drawing his cast together in one bus journey. But this is no Crash or Babel - Daukes takes a different route, avoiding the whiff of contrived cliche by letting his characters exhale after a tense, breathtaking climax.
I feel like I’m a man who never loved, as empathetic as a photograph...
Some relationships take on another dimension once you listen to Wonder, the accompanying six-track album. One song, The Man who Cannot See, was inspired by a painting given to Daukes, which you can’t help but link to a (different) painting in the film – the haunting image of a ghostly spectre lingering over a man's shoulder. That's arguably the weakness of a tie-in project designed to support another release. But in Daukes’ case, it’s a strength, because the guy has enough talent to communicate the same thing independently in each; even without the lyrics, the instrumental reworkings of the songs subtly strum along to the emotions on screen. Besides, any excuse to buy a Johnny Daukes album should be pounced upon immediately.
A film completely in verse, then a solo album, now an EP and a short film and all of them fantastic? Wonders never cease.
Wonder is showing as part of the Shorts Programme 2 at Raindance.