Cornelius Murphy’s short film Wrigley and King explores a candid moment in a man’s life as he attends his brother’s funeral. Waiting until everyone is gone, Wade (Jonathan Thomson) makes his way to his brother’s casket to pay his final respects. While there, spurred on by a comment the funeral director (Michael Boothroyd) makes, Wade begins to tell a tale about his brother from his childhood.
As a short film, it’s a quiet affair, exploring both a traumatic moment of the present and past. What you are supposed to take away from Wade’s story, and what it says about deceased brother Dane, is going to come down to individual interpretation. Some will see a story of two wrongs not making a right, others may see a story of action amid hopelessness, and still other interpretations remain. What it means for the audience, however, doesn’t matter compared to what it means to Wade.
Which is ultimately why Wrigley and King succeeds, as it captures that moment of personal reflection and fleshes it out, not for what it could be, but for what it is. We see his tale in flashback as he narrates over the images of youth and tragedy, but it’s never fantastical or coated with a feeling of nostalgic sentiment. Again, this is what happened, and this is what Wade remembers, and he’s matter-of-fact in his memory. Mourning, guarded, it doesn’t matter… there’s a truth for him there.
And thus there is a power for the film in the simple telling of a memory. Nothing flashy, contrived or overly dramatic. Just a simple, sad story of loss and revenge, told over a casket.
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