Film Reviews / Indie Film

Intelligent Life review: Dir. Paddy Earle [SWF Winner]

Back at the end of the summer (how are we already in winter?!) after 3 months, 112 films and 22 finalists, the time finally arrived to announce the winners of the first South West Filmathon Thing, run by the awesome and dedicated team at Devon and Cornwall Film!

An awesome 5905 votes were cast, 3 overall winners were chosen to win the Audience Choice, an Overall Winner and in this case…. the Judge’s Choice, which went to Paddy Earle’s highly entertaining Intelligent Life. This film really stood out for its own amusing world-creation but also because it emulated and expanded on a very British comedy-vibe, whilst remaining unique. Read on for my review…

Intelligent Life (11mins) Dir. Paddy Earle

In a Somerset town filled with sceptics, two siblings set out to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life.

Opening in the middle of the night, 3:17am to be precise, Intelligent Life knows its comedic tentacles and never fail to reach their audience with them, and it’s better than my odd metaphor here. Setting up their comedy style right from the start, we watch the lead pair of Hammond (James Rastall) and Cybil (Anna Wheatley), who are outside on some type of night-watch but it’s a very different one, as they’re on the hunt for life not of this planet.

Directed by Paddy Earle, this is one of those short films that settles you in quickly, you’ll know within the first minute whether it’s your type of humour and, so you know, it’s definitely mine. For the initial introduction, we think they may have discovered aliens but they’re only uncovering old farmers stealing vegetables. But one day, just as they lose faith in their hunt, Cybil hears voices to tell her where the aliens will appear one day, a vision you might say, and this has a large part to play in this unexpected adventure, that comes complete with spot-on delivery from a sharp script.  

Intelligent Life is peculiarly charming with its intentions and possibly influenced by the likes of Spaced, and the comic quips of Black Books, but it’s importantly led by two interesting characters. What also makes the short stand out is its developing of a wider story within the main one, they give their characters history, showing us previous defeats in their quest to discover life beyond our world, and they’re likeable and witty. In truth, you want a lot, lot more and I’m still waiting for a feature film. If you’ve recently seen the excellent Extra Ordinary, you’d also be a fan of this. Give me more, please!

You can watch Intelligent Life below, just let us know what you think! You might even occasionally find the Director on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/earle.paddy/

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