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The Crack Magazine

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Brian and Charles

Director: Jim Archer

Stars: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, Jamie Michie

Adapted from a short film, this whimsical fantasy drama, co-scripted by and starring ‘Afterlife’s’ David Earl, struggles to justify its extended running time. Earl plays Brian, an eccentric loner in North Wales who collects scrap for his various ill-conceived inventions. To combat the loneliness, he builds a hulking seven foot tall robot using a washing machine casing for a torso and a fashion dummy noggin for a head, topped off with dapper bowtie and monocle accessories. To Brian’s surprise, Charles, as he christens his creation, comes to life and a loving father-and-son relationship develops. But Charles quickly enters an awkward teen phase and longs to wander beyond the boundaries of their farm. Brian is wary that this would put his new found pal in the sights of the local bully. Earl’s Brian is amiable enough and Charles’ combination of clipped Colin Firth-style tones (voiced by Chris Hayward) and boundary-testing grumpy teenager personality is funny and occasionally poignant. The tweeness proves a bit much over the ninety-minute running time and the cloying infantilised characterisation feels more creepy than the affectionate celebration of eccentrics it’s presumably intended to be.

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