A mockumentary about two roommates who share a cottage in the United Kingdom, Brian and Charles is one of those films that you immediately want to share with everyone you know. Brian–the first roommate–is a poorly groomed, gravelly voiced farmer who spends much of the film getting frustrated by the actions of his roommate Charles, a freeloader who eats Brian’s food without asking. I suppose I should mention that Charles is a robot that Brian built when he got depressed one winter. They’ve been friends ever since.
As you can imagine, they are an odd couple. Brian is a stubborn and angry man whose go-to clothing choice is overalls, and Charles looks like an old man mask plopped on top of a boxy, half-pitched tent. Their chemistry is undeniably strong, though, which is something I never thought I’d say about a film where one of the main characters is a robot, or to be more accurate, a film where an one person stands under a robot costume and another person presses a button to make the robot speak with the same cadence as Stephen Hawking’s computer.
The film’s mockumentary style allows us to ignore these real-world details, and the end result is an unrealistic situation that passes for “believable enough”. It is an absolute joy to see Brian and Charles banter back and forth as they come into conflict with each other, and credit must be given to the creators of this film for giving a robot character such a gloriously strange personality.
According to director Jim Archer, “The only money we spent was on petrol, food, and an Airbnb in Snowdonia, Wales” which they had never seen before in person. The film was shot with a very small crew and improvisation was encouraged. It was shot over two days and nights in the AirBnB and surrounding areas. I think they slept in the AirBnB as well. All in all, their usage of the Snowdonia space is impressive. But I digress.
Despite budget-related limitations, this feels like a much more well-funded film, and it doesn’t really resemble the mockumentaries we normally see. At the end of the day, it looks more like Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre than The Office, and there’s just enough emotion in there to give Charles’s Tin Man a heart. It isn’t right to say that it’s filled with twists, but it is filled with unexpected surprises, and I hope it brings you joy. Please go watch it! I have nothing else to say.