The relationship between siblings is a fascinating thing. If you have a brother or sister that you’re close with, you’ll know that they can be your dearest, most reliable of friends. They can also get under your skin and irritate the shit out of you like no one else can. Nick Flügge explores this special brother/sister bond in the hilarious Cul-De-Sac and he gets it absolutely right. From the script, to the direction, to the performances, this delightful Brit gem warms the heart like a hot cuppa (Earl Gray, PG Tips, or Red Bush!) on a cold winter’s day.
Chris Pond is a middle-of-the-road private detective. At 35, he is a failing father in the midst of a failing marriage, who’s throwing himself into work in order to avoid dealing with his life. During a routine stakeout his sister, Lottie, orchestrates the world’s saddest attempt at an intervention in the hope that her brother will find a way out of the rut he’s got himself into. Cul-De-Sac is a charming comedy, which serves up a generous helping of British humour at its finest, brimming with sarcasm, self-deprecation and deadpan delivery. Almost the entire film takes place inside a car, squeezing the audience tightly into the narrative and exposing the characters in all their brilliance.
Inspiration can often come from an unlikely source. For Flügge, it happened when his wife fell pregnant with their first child. “Many emotions went through my mind. Joy, curiosity, elation, happiness and also fear. The compulsion to go and hide somewhere. In my car perhaps, in a nice quiet Cul-De-Sac” he explains. Whilst hiding in his safe place and avoiding reality, Flügge found himself listening to an interview on the radio with a private investigator. He discovered that the romantic notion he had for PI’s had been completely wrong and that in fact their lives mostly involved sitting in a car and drinking coffee. And voila! Chris Pond was born. As well as Flügge’s son…
There is so much to admire in Cul-De-Sac—the direction is solid, the writing, exceedingly clever and deceptively seamless, the edit beat-perfect, the performances faultless. It all comes beautifully together and in just 12 short minutes, you feel like you really get to know who Chris and Lottie are. And knowing them makes it impossible not to love them. As their relationship unspools along with their story (and with no cutaways, camera tricks or special effects to hide behind) the audience is invited into a very special bond between two very real people. With behaviours and a sense of humour more suited to young children than thirty-something year olds, Chris and Lottie are adorable and relatable in equal measures. This powerful connection between the viewer and the characters is what makes Cul-De-Sac such a joy to watch and why by the end of the short you will be left hungry for more. Thankfully, there is more to come as Nick Flügge is currently working on Cul-De-Sac the feature film! All we know so far is that Chris is thrown into an explosive suburban conspiracy, while struggling to win back Sarah, all the while helped and frustrated by his well-meaning sister Lottie. I am loving the sound of that and will be keeping an eye out for it!