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Magpie (2014)



Cast overview:
Martin McCann ... The Trickster
Olivia Williams ... The Woman
Mia Goth ... The Girl
Paul Kennedy ... Forest Man
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Director: Stephen Fingleton




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Followed by The Survivalist (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Focused on a specific survival, so narrative is limited but atmosphere and brutality is engaging
23 June 2014 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

This short film opens with a cleverly engaging graphic. A red line runs across the screen and we follow it as markers indicate that it is the movement of time. Next we see that it is labeled 'population'. The a blue line shoots straight up (labeled 'oil production') and the red one follows and follows till the blue peaks, tapers and drops – rapidly followed by the red line falling like a stone. It goes on for about 90 seconds but it is well done and it tells you everything you need to know without the viewer feeling like we have been spoonfed everything with the usual words on screen approach.

From these minimalist beginnings we continue in the same way as the film puts us into the middle of woodland with one character foraging for food while also keeping an eye out for dangers. I will not say too much more than that on the plot – although in fairness most of the film is following the activities of the character who fits the title. There is a narrative here although it is a little obvious once it gets close to any actual events; more importantly than this is the tone of it. It is bleakly and silently delivered in the main, with a focus on the feeling of emptiness and basic survival. Ultimately the film is creating a world for us which it will then expand in the film The Survivalist, which according to IMDb is currently filming. I see from the cast list that no characters or actors seem to be shared between the two projects, so there is really only the atmosphere and background that I guess will link them.

If this is the case I am fine with it, since the short does very well to carry a sense of death and also is brutal in some of the things it does. The look and sound of the film is very well done, with emptiness and the loudness of small actions in an empty world making up what you can hear, while visually it has little color or cheer to it. Although the focus is on creating a place rather than delivering a story, the short film does manage a reasonably satisfying conclusion – mainly because it reinforces what we understand rather than tell you everything else.

The feature will need to bring much more to the table than this, but for the short it is all about atmosphere and focus and it works on those terms.

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Release Date:

9 June 2014 (UK) See more »


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GBP50,000 (estimated)
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