869. Keith Reynolds Can’t Make it Tonight – Felix Massie

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SUMMARY: Keith Reynolds starts his day happy in anticipation of an expected promotion. When the promotion doesn’t transpire, it’s just the first of a series of events that see Keith’s life unravel before his eyes.

WHY IT’S HERE: Felix Massie’s ‘Keith Reynolds Can’t Make It Tonight’ was a short that took me completely by surprise, quickly becoming one of my favourite animated shorts of all time. Using very simple backgrounds and colour coded stickpeople for characters, the film tells the story of a potentially good day which quickly turns into a nightmare. The escalation of events across the film’s six minutes shows Massie’s brilliant knack for farce, while Scott Johnson’s dry narration strikes the perfect tone for the tragi-comic material. Although they are quite different films, Don Hertzfeldt’s Bill trilogy springs to mind as another set of films that features simply rendered characters enhanced by brilliant scripts and monotone narration. Hertzfeldt may well have been an influence but Massie carves out his own niche here, with a flatly philosophical approach which looks inside the heads of many characters. The ending, which many will find unsatisfying, is one of my favourite endings of anything ever! It somehow feels like the perfect place to leave the narrative, as the characters take stock of what a difference a few minutes can make.

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