We all have that one piece of clothing we love. That one we want to wear every single day, no matter what the occasion is. It might be the tight pair of jeans you adore or the gorgeous looking dress. Well, for Christopher Cobbler (Jason Watkins), it’s his heart-warming overcoat. With his adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat, Patrick Myles (A Pornographer Woos, Anthropopopometry) makes a humorous and dark short film about a man longing what his heart desires the most.
Working as a proof-reader at a government department, Cobbler’s (Watkins) life is highly predictable. Getting all the documents at 9am and giving them back at 5pm. Not only has work become a routine, but also his life outside the office. Eating the same breakfast, reading the same newspapers and wearing the exact same clothes, one of which is a long, dark brown overcoat. Although Coobler is consistently mocked at work for his overcoat, Cobbler is determined to buy a new fancy and modern one. When showing off his new brand-new purchase, he’s receiving compliments and praise from his colleagues. Feeling incredibly good for once, Cobbler becomes inseparable with his fury overcoat. Until it gets stolen… Struck by desperation and sadness, life is taking an incredibly negative turn for Cobbler.
Of course, what that is, is for you to find out. While The Overcoat is a very comic and fun film, there’s also that secretive vibe that keeps you on the tip of your toes during the whole movie, especially after Cobbler is confronted with the loss of his beloved coat. One of the elements that create that dark and sinister atmosphere is the voice-over provided by Tim Key (Gap Year, Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge). Most of the movie is being told by that voice which gives it a unique element. Alongside the voice-over, it’s also the great, sombre and melancholic musical score.
Another component that contributes to the mysterious mood is the dark cinematography. It’s absolutely no coincidence that the director used mostly dark brown and black colours whilst making this film. The brown colours are probably a reference to the secure, dependable and homely lifestyle Cobbler has. No last-minute changes or spontaneous trips. Just routine, habits and an ordinary life.
The Overcoat is all about Christopher and the love for his coat, so the casting of the character was incredibly important for this movie. Patrick Myles and his casting team, led by Kate Plantin (Stanley a Man of Variety, The Bromley Boys), did a famously great job. Watkins gives us humour and wittiness but also with a dark comic touch and seriousness. His acting combined with the Tim Key voice-over is mesmerizing and captivating. Watkins is surrounded by the wonderful ensemble cast including Alex Macqueen (Silent Witness, Peaky Blinders), Dominic Coleman (Upstart Crow, Trollied) and Oliver Tilney (Outlander, Joseph’s Reel).
The film has already screened at DC Shorts festival and Palm Springs Shortfest 2018. It’s a very funny, witty and dark comedy with a pleasing and spot-on acting performance. All this in combination with an extremely fitting cinematography and theme music makes this film an incredibly accurate adaption of Nikolai Gogo’s work. One you should see.
Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Reporter – Just Celebrity Magazine