• Shotgun Garfunkel



    Released By: Cinema Epoch
    Released On: October 21, 2014
    Director: Johnny Barbuzano
    Cast: Asher Mikkel Stoltz, Eduan van Jaarsveldt, Bryan van Niekerk
    Year: 2013
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    The Film:

    In case you were wondering what the record holder for, "Fastest Film Ever Made" is (as of this date, anyhow), that title goes to the South African film Shotgun Garfunkel, which was apparently written, shot, edited and screened in 10 days, 10 hours, and 30 minutes with a budget of just 1200 dollars. A pretty amazing feat, especially if the film isn't a giant, steaming turd. And let me tell you, Shotgun Garfunkel, directed by Johnny Barbuzano and starring a few people you've probably not heard of, is no giant, steaming turd.




    The film concentrates on a group of thirty-some-odd-year-olds who come to the realization that life seems to have gotten the best of them, and that their peak years of having fun ended around the time that Kurt Cobain put a shotgun in his mouth. Robbie has recently broken up with his attractive girlfriend as things have gotten too boring; Tim's job at the nursing home is satisfying, but his heart aches with missed opportunities and unrequited love; and Ed and Phillipa may have settled down into parenthood, but Phillipa fondly remembers her drunken days of dancing on the tables to rowdy bar bands. Only Johnny seems somewhat content to be past his glory days, settling into a life of shopping for tampons and stifling all of his wild urges in order to make his fiance Isabella happy.

    Deciding to shake off the tedium of mature adulthood, the group plan a wild night out in the city, with the idea that some heavy drinking, some loud music, and a tour of the places they hung out at in their younger years will make their awesomeness complete again. Ditching Isabella to dine alone with her parents and leaving the baby with Ed, they commandeer a taxi (more on that in a minute) and hit the road, quickly discovering that things haven't exactly stayed the same. And it's not just that a tree they used to hang out at is now a fountain, or that the old skinny-dipping pool has been taken over by a younger and fitter generation, it's that the whole world seems to have moved on without them. Their final destination as VIP-listers at The Great Dane nightclub throws a few awkward wrenches into their ideas of the past, and as the sun comes up, so does the realization that the present is as good as you can make it.




    The premise may seem somewhat meh, but the premise isn't what makes Shotgun Garfunkel a great film. Barbuzano (he had a hand in writing as well as directing) and Co. have basically cranked out a perfect look at the lives of the characters, from the dialogue to the situations they encounter, every angle, and they make it look effortless. The chemistry between the actors is brilliant and seamless, making every conversation and emotion absolutely sincere. Their personalities create the comedy that carries the film and establishes a connection with the viewer over the simplest gestures; and this from a group who could largely be considered newcomers. The script is genius right from the beginning, with Robbie and Johnny discussing Robbie's ex and Johnny's fiance, to the subtle insertion of a reference to Canadian rapper Snow (Informer!), and the hilarious and random cuts to the suspicious cabbie calling his girlfriend. By establishing such incredible characters, the level of empathy is dialed in through different scenes, hammering home the awkwardness at the climax of the film.




    This review isn't doing much justice to the film, but that's the thing with Shotgun Garfunkel; it's almost impossible to describe what makes it so enjoyable. So, in a word, characters. The characters make the film what it is. And it's a testament to the ingenuity of all involved that such a fantastic film can be made in such a short amount of time for so little money.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Shotgun Garfunkel comes to DVD from Cinema Epoch in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks pretty decent, especially considering that most of it is shot in low-light conditions. Detail is pretty solid through most of the film, though some scenes get a little murky. Compression levels seem to be good as well, with any artifacting kept to a minimum.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is sufficient, with dialogue balanced well for the most part, though there are some scenes where the soundtrack slightly overtakes the speech. Still, the track sounds good with no noticeable issues. It should be noted that there are no subtitles or captions on this disc, so if you're like me and have a harder time navigating around the accents, you may have to ride the volume control.

    Unfortunately, there are no extras aside from a still gallery and the trailer. For a film that is now the world record holder for fastest film ever made, some kind of background or documentary piece would've been nice.

    The Final Word:

    If you can't filter through the gibberish in this review to get to the point, here it is; Shotgun Garfunkel is a realistic look at some realistic people in realistic situations that also happens to be very witty and a little touching. Check it out.