Short Films - Wonderwall (2018) - Reviewed

Alex Conn's charming debut, Wonderwall, is a vularity laced homage to the awkwardness of love and undying comradery.  Blending elements of Swings and Birdman, Wonderwall is a profane black sheep among the John Hughes' remnants of growing pain centric '80s classics.  Featuring a hilarious pair of central performances and some unexpectedly adept camera work, this is an excellent shoestring effort that shows its creator has a bright career ahead of him. 

A lovesick actor struggles with his crush on a co-actress.  Aided by his foul-mouthed best friend, he attempts to profess his love, leading to a hilarious conclusion.  The most striking aspect of the film is the visuals.  While they're not overwhelming, there is a simplistic quality to the composition that keeps them natural and fresh for the film's six-minute run time.  There's a major sequence in the middle that transpires in a bathroom, filled with claustrophobic close ups and interesting camera angles.

Wyatt Walsh gives an outstanding lead performance.  His frustration is palpable, bringing a grounded sense of the hysterics of love to every scene.  However, Andrew Yarrow's hilarious embodiment of everything wrong and sometimes right with your best friend is perfection.  This is a deeply flawed character and yet, Yarrow's performance has an electric aura that is undeniable.  They're supported by Rose Hanish and Conn himself, but it is the relationship between the principles that is of import to Conn's work.  

The penultimate scene blends art and reality with a sequence on stage in which a character breaks with the script to profess his feelings.  Conn makes an interesting choice to confuse the names of characters, further delving into the concept of performance and reality.  The intent is certainly left to the viewer, but the overarching theme of cycles; of life going on is presented with both cringe-worthy aplomb and the undeniable truths of friendship.  These are privileged, immature kids who have a lifetime of regret, love, and friendship ahead of them and Conn’s handling of what could be offensive dialogue is exceptional. 

Available now on Youtube, Wonderwall is an atypical student film that transcends expected mediocrity with imperfect, realistic characters and an absolutely perfect finale.  One can't view this film without hearing Pennywise's Bro Hymn in the background during every scene, despite the use of Oasis' top 40 anthem.  If you’re interested in viewing a bare bones film as an inspiration for the magic of film making this is an excellent foray into the medium.

--Kyle Jonathan