Whirlpool

Jimmy has a disability but pushes himself to step up and take responsibility.

Genre: Drama

Length: 17:17

Free To View

5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Brian Stynes,

Director/s : Brian Stynes, 

Writer/s : Michael Linehan, 

Actor/s : Michael Linehan, 

 

Punching above his weight

Jimmy’s a little guy, with a slight hump-back that gets stares. But he’s got energy to spare, which he burns off with martial arts and training runs. He pops in on his old dad, but not enough. Dad has a home help, Tim, a who visits regularly. But Jimmy begins to suspect that Tim bullies his dad when he’s not there. He goes to Tim’s manager, only to be brushed off. “You’re not getting me,” he says. “I am getting you.” “Then you don’t give a shit.”

You get the sense that Jim himself has been bullied or ignored his whole life… but maybe that’s an excuse for not taking responsibility. The slowly developing tension is all about whether the ball of pent-up anger inside Jim is finally going to explode, and what might happen if it does. Because karate and boxing or no, Jim’s still a little guy, as one beautifully judged scene in the ring makes very clear.

Michael Linehan plays Jimmy superbly. There’s no trace of showing off, even with the sharp kick-boxing routines he does alone in the corner of the gym. There are more minor characters than most short films, all supporting Linehan perfectly, even down to the extras in the gym with their ever-so-slightly patronising looks towards Jimmy.

Linehan wrote the piece too, and Brian Stymes’ direction, camerawork and editing match Jimmy’s coiled spring. It’s an exemplar of gritty realism that never spills over into melodrama or cliché.

The jerky hand-held camera is overused, to my mind – it’s fine in the gym, but not so necessary in the supermarket. But aside from this admittedly subjective quibble, there’s little to criticise about this very affecting film.

Jimmy is a memorable character. If any rich investor/producers are listening, hear this: he deserves a feature.