From the description online, you’d expect the ending of Keir Burrows’ “Donkey” to play out like a literal bloody mess, but it never comes. You wait for something brutal, to make this supposed revenge story become cliché or average, but that doesn’t happen either.
Like a miniature version of “American Psycho” or even the more recent “Shame,” this film is a journey inside a narcissist’s mind, but unlike the aforementioned pictures, there’s no sex, drugs or blood.
Don’t worry hedonists, you’ll get a different kind of fix here. Visually, the film is stunning. The style of shooting, with a near myriad of quick shots, balanced beautifully with long and wide ones and up-close facial pans, depict a person looking for something. Someone ends up finding something here alright. The adventure to find out who it is makes this picture a joy to uncover.
The fact that the film is pure narration and in grayscale also adds a beauty and seductive storytelling element. Even in a few minutes, sitting through this short is like unwrapping a present.
But the ultimate reason for the success of this film is the believability of the main character. That has everything to do with the performance of James Farrar. Everyone knows someone like this character. Everyone knows someone who talks about how much money they make, the women they’ve been with, but when at the end of the day, they’ve got squat. The journey into this character’s mind, where he confronts his disgusting attitude towards life- it’s never self-analyzed until the end. But when he finally realizes his mistakes in life, that’s the wow moment that makes this film special.
This film, in its own way, not only makes you think about yourself and the relationships, even the minute ones, you’ve cultured over the years, it’s a firm and nearly flawless representation of what short film should be.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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