The Crush is an Irish short film, nominated for an Oscar last month. I just saw it here and I wanted to offer some thoughts.
The story is that of a young boy, Ardal, who falls in love with his primary school teacher. Aiming to actually win her heart, he challenges her somewhat dickish and disbelieving fiancée to a duel to the death.
It’s a 15 minute long film, and it’s all fairly light hearted for the first half, then takes a darker turn.
Now, it’s an interesting little film, a nice premise. But I have some problems with it, and its Oscar nomination.
You see, what happens in the latter half of the movie is that the kid gets access to his Fathers gun (his Father is in the ARU, though I’m fairly sure they aren’t armed with 6 shooter revolvers) and holds the fiancée up at gun point, demanding that he break up with the teacher. The fiancée breaks down in tears and reveals his true nature to the teacher who breaks up with him. The revolver turns out to be unloaded or a pop gun or something. Kid walks off with the teacher. Fin.
I really didn’t like how the thing ended, because it tries to turn the kid, deranged enough to think he can get with his teacher by wielding a firearm about, into the hero. I feel this point isn’t addressed much beyond some concern from the teacher. I cannot get past that fact. That kid is not the good guy, he’s waving a gun around and scaring some guy half to death.
Moreover, much of that final scene doesn’t make sense, further ruining it. Why doesn’t the guy just say he won’t marry the teacher like the kid demands, repenting when he is disarmed, instead of this teary rant about how he genuinely doesn’t want to marry her? Why isn’t the teacher terrified of the kid afterward? And why does she even let this infatuation get to this point?
Some might say that I’m nitpicking, finding holes in a 15 minute film. Hey, if you can’t buy it, it’s a flaw.
A better movie is one where the kids obsession is played up, where the kid is very clearly disturbed. A better movie is one where the teacher tries, and fails to put a stop to it, one where his parents cliché advice on love fuels his feelings rather then tempers them. A better movie is one where the fiancée isn’t an asshole, just a normal guy who loves the teacher. A better movie is one where the kids infatuation can’t see that, where he demonises some poor bastard because he has the temerity to love the same woman.
A better movie is one where the kid kills the guy, with the final scene seeing him being taken away by the authorities, confused as to how the teacher doesn’t love him. Isn’t this how the movies he watches are supposed to end?
Too dark? Maybe. I suppose the point of the film is that sometimes it takes a kids innocence to uncover the bad guys true nature. Or something like that.
I also don’t think this thing is really Oscar nomination quality. None of the actors stand out, the script doesn’t exactly sparkle, the cinematography isn’t anything special…maybe there is some aspect to the short film genre I’m not seeing.
Anyway, worth checking out regardless.