SMALL town, small minds goes the saying, and in Ross Hornby’s accomplished new short film it most definitely applies.
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JD (Euan Jardine) is a young man trying to improve his life in the kind of small Scottish town where everyone knows your name and nothing stays secret for long. As JD prepares to go on a first date with Arlene (Kirsty Halliday), a girl he met on the internet, he is interrupted by a friend, Sweeney (Steven McIntyre), who needs his help on some less-than-legal business matters.
When Sweeney takes a liking to Arlene and does all he can to get JD out of the way, loyalties became blurred and decisions have to be made once and for all.
Clocking in at just over 35 minutes, Small Town doesn’t give the viewer long to get to know its characters, but Jardine’s seemingly effortless central performance ensures much is said with just a look.
The supporting cast are just as strong, though there’s little for Halliday to sink her teeth into while her admirers get the majority of screen time. McIntyre is believable as the shell-suited layabout who has nothing better to do than wind up his mate, and the banter with Jardine sounds like the pair have known each other for years.
Hornby ensures the camera is constantly being placed in interesting places, either watching JD walk forlornly across a park or along an empty roadside. There’s little glamour in his world, the muted browns matching the mood of his characters well.
Hopefully Small Town isn’t the last we’ve seen of Hornby or his cast - a return, ideally feature-length, visit would be welcome.