Calgary Underground 2022 Short Film Short Review: CORNERS, A Bespoke Deadpan
Rory is a thorough man in a lackadaisical world. In the near future, Canada, and possibly the world has implemented a thorough set of guidelines for inspection and health of the corners of public buildings.
Rory takes his job seriously. Very seriously. He buries himself in the Cocoon Furniture Store's corner No. 4 with his custom gear (triangles mounted hard hats which connect to his trapezius muscles) and various measurement systems, looking for...something, while the well dressed owner of the showroom exasperatedly breaks the fourth wall. We sort feel her pain, but we are not sure exactly what is going on in Corners.
For the remaining 10 minutes, Rory is tested himself, in his resolve to be the thorough technician, using springs and weights and measures, as Dave, muscles in with his fancy lasers and cloud-based reporting. Dave spends more time flirting with the owner, and is offered the store's complimentary mashed potatoes and homemade catsup, and phones the actual inspection in.
Not Rory. Being pushed aside in the very task he knows best is an existential crisis. Booze and professional wrestling do not help his situation.
Ubiquitous character actor Michal D. Cohen (Suburbicon, Whiplash, Henry Danger), with his frizzy hair, bald pate, and just a bit too short figure, is a kookier, less menacing Henry Gibson. In Corners he is larger-than-life keeper of knowledge and secrets. Knowledge nobody seems to want.
Cohen plays Rory as a seeker, nay, an oracle, of the anonymous space, and potential hazard, where two walls meet. He once prevented a shut down -- at this very store, he will tell you -- by early detection of a structural stress, via his gauging of the moisture and temperature, and fault-lines. Do people appreciate him? Absolutely not. Do people tolerate him? Barely. Is he correct in his dedication? Possibly.
James Brylowski's too-fussy too-intense deadpan about ego, hyper-niche expertise, and professional hubris, straddles the line between Christopher Guest mockumentary, and indie character study, and demands some respect for its commitment to such; both the universality of people’s behaviour and oddity as well.
For making everyone, on the surface, unlikeable in the normal sense, but eventually endearing in the specific nanoverse he essays here. In the end, you might, indeed, surmise, that there are two sides to every corner.