Angelfish

By Dane McCusker | Drama
After a night at the bar, a guy invites a girl home to see his angelfish.

After a night out at a bar, drinking and flirting in a friendly, competitive way, Patrick invites Claire back to his flat to see his angelfish. With their banter and ease, they clearly enjoy one another’s company.

But then Patrick makes a move, Claire attempts to defuse the situation, and soon the evening turns ugly, as their assumptions unravel about what’s expected out of whom and why.

Writer-director Dane McCusker’s incendiary, sharply trenchant short drama enters the cinematic landscape during the era of #MeToo, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the Brock Turner trial at Stanford, making it unusually topical in an industry where projects, even on the smaller scale, often require months or even years to plan and then execute.

But with emotionally intelligent writing and unvarnished yet precise performances, the film avoids a “ripped from the headlines” feeling. The storytelling is emotionally attuned to both characters’ feelings and thoughts, taking care to chart both their connection and friendliness at the beginning with genuine rapport.

But it is also forensically precise on how Patrick’s inability to read Claire’s refusals to go along with his agenda and how his efforts to move ahead escalate and transform their dynamic from flirty to fraught. Actors Georgia Wilkinson-Derums and Adam Sollis play each beat of their characters’ respective arcs with honesty and even vulnerability.

Both characters are genuinely hurt and bewildered by what happens between them, but Patrick is also armored with certain beliefs about women, courtship, romance and sex, and when these come to the surface, the interaction becomes intensely combative and even dangerous in feel.

The emotionally attuned camerawork does deft work in capturing the micro-currents of emotions that underlie the dialogue, showing how cracks in the surface on both sides can suddenly widen into almost unbridgeable chasms. When Patrick and Claire realize the wide divide that their different ideas about sex and expectation has created between them, it’s already too late, and the central dramatic tension becomes whether or not their situation will escalate into something dangerous. When Claire finally makes clear her anger and refusal, ideas and beliefs come out into the open, exposed for all their ugliness.

At the film’s denouement, McCusker makes the interesting decision to stay with Patrick, who must wrestle with not just the blow-up itself, but the difficult emotional terrain that has come to the surface. It’s a moment that’s both compassionate in its honesty and devastatingly clear-eyed, as Patrick’s self-conception of himself — and the ideas he carries about sex and women — unravel.

Does he take the moment to examine his assumptions and question the role they’ve played in the situation that has just transpired? Does this prove a moment of reckoning for him? The answers are unclear, and the film’s ending is ambiguous and ultimately disquieting — for Patrick, for the culture at large and for our overall capacity to change.




You Might Also Like:

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

Don’t Be a Hero ft. Missi Pyle

By Pete Lee | Drama
A middle-aged woman battles her loneliness and boredom by robbing banks in the guise of a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. Ian McKellen, David Bradley

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invest his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
Two brothers caught in a time loop must traverse a series of maze-like events in order to prevent a catastrophic fire from occurring.

Garfield

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.

Partners

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.

Small Arms ft. Tyler Young

By Arman Cole | Drama
A bullied college student seeks out shooting lessons with an ex-militia member to prove his manhood.

Spoetnik

By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man finds himself in between a food-truck and a brothel. Then, he meets his dream girl.

Long Branch

By Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart | Romance
A heartbroken woman finds a one-night stand. But the guy lives two hours away... via public transit.

Ten Thousand Days

By Michael Duignan | Comedy
A man is convinced he'll die on his 10,000th day. But when he meets a girl at his cousin's funeral, things don't go to plan.

Pawns

By Tyrees A. Lamptey | Drama
A WW1 soldier is trapped in a trench with the enemy... and it restores their faith in humanity.

Pitter Patter Goes My Heart ft. Vicky Krieps

By Christoph Rainer | Romance
A hopeless romantic takes desperate measures to win her former lover back. But he already has a new girl at his side.

Grape Soda

By Justin Robinson | Drama
A marriage, broken by death, is kept alive by the memories held through grape soda.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.