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Tara Lynne O'Neill,
It is always a dangerous thing to go into watching any kind of film, short or feature, from a filmmaker whose work you have seen before. With Stephen Fingleton, his most notable short film is 'SLR', by way of festival exposure and plaudits, which I reviewed some months ago. Hence on learning about Magpie I kept my expectations at bay and came to the film with a fresh pair of eyes and ears (though ones ears won't have much to take in with Magpie).
Does Magpie work let alone work as a short? I am not so sure that it works as a short let alone a good short as there is no real story but more a slice of life, in the future, of a character that forages so as to survive and that's pretty much it with a very predictable middle and end. The interesting use of the opening credits to convey the back story is a great device but Fingleton seems to demonstrate a deftness with devices. Where he seems to fall short is in creating an interesting enough story that holds one's attention through it's entire running time. The short comes to an obvious conclusion but does not impress or leave it's mark/impression upon you.
I suppose Fingleton can be forgiven for this lack-luster offering as it is a precursor to a feature that is already filming. My hope is that the filmmaker will be making every effort to bring a lot more to the big screen in his feature. That said it is possible that Fingleton was keen just to have more content on the web and in the festivals - I say this because I am hoping that this 'short' is not the ticked box for what the feature should be. With a well-known and recognizable cast in Magpie; Olivia Coleman (Sixth Sense, etc), Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac, etc), Martin McGann (The Pacific, etc) - (two out of three of the cast figuring in the feature that is in production), one can see that the short will obviously get attention from festivals where programmers will outweigh the lack of something interesting and anything original for the 'marquee' names.
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