Jazz and Wolf run Deadhead Comics. They owe their landlord £5,000 but they don't have it and it seems the shop is doomed. But, when Issue No 1 of Electric Man mysteriously appears in the shop it seems their problems are solved. Far from it. Worth £100,000, the comic is being sought by a number of people who'll stop at nothing to get it for themselves - the strange and alluring Lauren McCall, Electric Man obsessive Edison Bolt and Lauren's Uncle Jimmy, a violent thug. Add to the mix, the return of Wolf's girlfriend Victoria and you have all the elements for what's been described as 'The Maltese Falcon' meets 'Clerks.'
, the feature debut from writer/director David Barras, is a deceptively charming and often funny micro-budget comedy/crime caper. I could not help but think that it is not wholly unlike its Icelandic kin, Astropia
, from a few years back. Both films are of the same ilk, micro budget reference-heavy comedies that speak to both the geek and non-geek alike. But, you don't have to get every reference dropped to enjoy it.
The script isn't always clear what its purpose is even though, yes, the influence of film noir like The Maltese Falcon is at play here. So the tangled web that Jazz weaves as he tries to find out who the comic book really belongs to does not come together until the very end as the tropes of noir dictate. Still, there are brief moments that lack coherency and this may have been corrected by a bit of editing; for a comedy, you could probably lose about 10 of Electric Man's 100 minutes and not lose any of the story elements. But in the end Electric Man is such a charming comedy the end result outweighs its faults.
Toby Manley is excellent as Jazz. He is like a mini Richard 'Top Gear' Hammond, if there is such a thing. Seriously, close your eyes when he is talking. Hammond! His partner in crime, Mark McKirdy as Wolf, rings reminiscent of Chris O'Dowd from The IT Crowd. Jennifer Ewing as the leggy comic book heiress, Lauren McCall, is indeed the femme fatale true to form and I did not mind looking at her, at all. That being said I also did not mind Emily Lockwood as Wolf's girlfriend Victoria. See scene with catsuit on bed for reference. All in all, the cast and supporting characters are great.
Passion River will release Electric Man on DVD this Tuesday, September 10th. Filmbuff will follow that up with a VOD release on Friday, September 15th. It is worth checking out.
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