Genre: Comedy, Drama, Short.
Starring: Kenton Hall, Nick Deal, Hero Hall, Scarlet Hall.
Year Of Release: 2016
Runtime: 7 Minutes
Director: Jakob Lewis Barnes
Writer: Jakob Lewis Barnes
Synopsis: “A day in the life of a pathetic clown, as his mental issues begin to consume him and cause his final performance to spiral out of control.” IMDB
Before reading our review, jump to the bottom of the page and watch “Harlequin” in its entirety for full enjoyment!
So here we are watching the most bitter/sweet moment of my year currently, I have a ridiculous fear of clowns, but have an unrivalled excitement and honour in knowing the team behind “Harlequin” and helping support indie film in anyway is a thing Movie Corner are proud to do. “Harlequin” is the second film from JumpCut UK Productions after their short “Layla” in February earlier this year and their first partnership with Felix Mater Society.
Charles (Kenton Hall) is a clown who is clearly going through some deep seeded mental issues that are materialising themselves during his preparation for an upcoming show. These issues manifest in a darker version of Charles himself with a much more creepy make-up design and a more maniacal tone and mannerisms to his clowning. The contrast of “normal” Charles and broken Charles is a vast difference, Kenton Hall excels again with his performance in making you feel sorry for Charles while also making you feel discomfort. This is my second time seeing Hall act, previously I reviewed “A Dozen Summers” another stellar performance by him, in a film in which he also wrote and directed.
Many will see this as another short, but the short comes with a deeper message ingrained in the miniscule runtime that effects a vast majority of this world. That issue is mental illness, the stark contract between normal Charles and “broken” Charles is executed in a wonderfully descriptive fashion, there is clear visuals differences between both “versions”of the character giving the audience a great look into the world of mental illness by showing us that we truly don’t know what is going on behind the mask if you will. While there is a fun comical approach to the character there is also a serious aspect to him which Hall portrays wonderfully. Along with Kenton Hall there is appearances from two other Halls the talented Hero and Scarlet real life daughters of our maniacal clown who play two audience members who get involved in the show and last but certainly not least we get a cameo appearance from JumpCut’s very own Nick Deal who plays a stagehand.
While there is certainly some lineage to the story, I feel it was left open to interpretation, the short is very much a master-class in visual storytelling. From the beauty of black and white to the shots that are purposefully not colour corrected, the director shows his knowledge of films and film-making techniques. The entire production of JumpCut’s work has came on leaps and bounds since “Layla”, by no means does this mean “Layla” is bad, it’s just that “Harelquin” excels in a very stunning way that you rarely see in a short especially from somebody so early in their film-making career.
Overall, Jakob and the JumpCut team do a brilliant job of portraying a funny man going through a very unfunny time in life, as many may know I am genuinely terrified of clowns while I felt discomfort watching I could enjoy the short for the work of art it is. While watching the film a wonderful quote come to mind that I heard came the great Robin Williams and feels very apt given the nature of the short “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people laugh. Because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless.” The film is a lot more lighter in tone than I was expecting, it’s a very enjoyable Dramedy that makes you laugh and cringe at the same time and individually which is very impressive given the short runtime.