Finding the front door open and the house empty, a delivery man sees a note asking him to water the plants...

Genre: Comedy

Length: 3:26

Free To View

3.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : ctrl-x films,

Director/s : Jonathan Small, Maxine Mason

Writer/s : Maxine Mason, Jonathan Small

Actor/s : Matt McKechnie, Joshua Ive


Paper trail

An Amazon-type delivery man finds the front door of his delivery address is open, and there’s a note on the mat asking him to water the plants. Next to the orchid he sees a second note: Please feed the fish. Then, by the fishtank, another.

The papertrail makes for a great storytelling hook, drawing us in. How quickly a story can be told when there’s no dialogue! There’s humour too, as the notes seem to be in conversation with him: when he can’t see where the fish are, he turns over the note to read “upstairs”. Things escalate, as he’s asked to feed dead insects to the venus flytrap plant, and as a second delivery man arrives. Each thinks the other is the householder.

Ten out of ten so far. Now for the hard bit: constructing a perfect ending, drawing threads together into a big, pretty and satisfying bow. With a less literal, more symbolic or surreal film, the threads could be thematic. Here, the writers need to conclude the strong plot. It’s a trick they don’t quite pull off. That’s not to say the denouement is implausible, dissatisfying or contrived. It just doesn’t leave you wanting to applaud, because it’s like an ending to a different story, not completing what came before.

From the lack of other credits one assumes that writer-directors Jonathan Small and Maxine Mason did everything from photography to post-production. They make nice use of angles and close-ups, the editing is sharp, and sound effects contribute to the ambience and even the humour. Despite the hyper-critical caveat of the ending not landing as perfectly as we wanted, their three minute film still punches above its weight.

Screener available Feb 2020