Matt Smith has often spoke of his desire to direct one day and now we’ll be able to see those tentative first steps towards becoming an auteur when Sky Art’s premier his short film, Cargese on 30th May.
The story, written by award-winning playwright Simon Stephens, is part of the Playhouse Presents strand: half-hour one-offs that tend towards the impressionistic, the artsy and, as the name implies, the theatrical.
Cargese is about two teenage friends, adrift in a dull urban landscape. Carl (Craig Roberts, star of Being Human and Submarine) is about to escape to go to college; Stephen (Joe Cole, who played violent baddie Luke from Skins) is the wilder, rougher and needier of the two, particularly now he and his meek brother Alex (Perry Millward) spend their time at home watching their mother die of cancer.
The Radio Times have praised Smith for his ‘esoteric imagery’, his sparing use of close ups, his restraint and his compositional skills:
“I liked his recurring, hand-held wide shot of Stephen swallowed up by a particularly drab and anonymous part of town, and his occasional trick of bringing out the nuance of the dialogue by laying it over shots of the same characters interacting wordlessly.”
However, they were more critical of a key moment from of the piece:
“Cargese is described by Sky Arts as “poetic realism”, which I think means we’re supposed to let ourselves gloss over a rather overcooked twist in the middle that makes it hard to believe any of Roberts and Cole’s later scenes. Smith could perhaps have provoked Roberts into breaking out of his tendency to underplay.”
Overall, the RT were full of praise for a confident, assure debut from the Eleventh Doctor:
“Smith himself doesn’t appear in Cargese. Since he’s so faultlessly good in Doctor Who, you’d hate to see too many future projects where he contents himself with staying behind the camera – but it’s clear he has talent there too. It’s a nice problem to have…”
Cargese, directed by Matt Smith, will air May 30th on Sky Arts 1.
(Via Radio Times.