Moe Dunford in Leave. Still courtesy of 925 Productions
June Butler takes a look at Mike Hayes’ “incredibly clever” short film Leave.
Mike Hayes’ Filmbase/RTÉ supported short film Leave (2015) is an incredibly clever piece of filmmaking and it is right and fitting that he should be confident with his abilities when considering this gem. What has ensued is a devilishly slick story – told at rapid fire pace and unrelenting in its knowledge that as films go, this one is all grown up, knows where it’s heading, and what it wants to be when it arrives.
Hayes shot the movie in March 2015 – a quick turnaround on a modest budget. The modesty of funding doesn’t show because editing is genius and as casting goes, the actors were a director’s dream team. For the armchair psychologists among film goers, Leave should have been like Pavlov’s dog – created to make us pompously think we would know how it enfolded and salivate at the first inkling of coulda, woulda, shoulda – shrieking with clenched fists cackling ‘I told you so’. But on further consideration it is far less obvious – and this is its brilliance. In making decisions, veering to the left, sashaying to the right – should that call be answered, will I stay in, go out, drink, blink, sigh, breathe, leave – there goes any one of us. Tied and bound to serendipity. Enthralled to the gods of faking free choice. Imprisoned by the fire-burst of not really knowing why or how we do things. Is impulse really so impulsive after all? Do genetics play a role? Is misadventure innate? How and why can random be understood? After the event, just how many people have meant it when they said hindsight is twenty/twenty vision?
Moe Dunford plays the role of Brendan – a kindly and well meaning cop who does a favour for an old friend. Brendan’s actions remind viewers of the old adage – no good deed goes unpunished. The story unfolds bit by bit with tantalising glimpses as tension builds – an unconditional timeline of suspense that is bound to no master. Every minute is gripping and grudgingly released – melting into moments spirited away by a relentless taskperson. According to Hayes, even chance meetings in casting key players signifies just how much Leave is everyone’s story.
Real talent is making something appear seamless and entertaining – it’s about making viewers think it’s easy. And it is…..if you’re Mike Hayes. Hayes said that he’d sooner be one man’s glass of whiskey than every man’s cup of tea – in directing Leave, he has become ‘the’ glass of whiskey for a whole lot of people.