Film Review: ‘Puck’ (2023) – MANIFF 2023

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Stars: Caleb Russell, Joe Lindley
Director: Rebecca Ozer
Producer: Rebecca Ozer

“Well, come on in.”

Casual sex, intimate encounters, one night stands etc. They are books which immediately close as they open. Nothing more, nothing less, just the sex. When the motivations of the participants differ and divert, a dangerous game can be played. In Puck, we have the flamboyant host, Mac (Caleb Russell), whose intentions become obvious, and in front of him we also have the titular character, Puck (Joe Lindley), who, despite being within an engaged open-relationship, carries the notion that they don’t really know what they want. 

Accompanied by his dog Rusty and a wall of outlandish artwork, Mac is eager and waiting, but also somewhat nervous. Upon Pluck’s arrival, Mac’s humour falls flat to the point of almost spooking Puck, as the nervousness really kicks in. Yet, Puck is laid back as anything. After a small handful of forced conversations and root beer floats, the magic occurs. Sex, nothing more, nothing less. For Mac, it meant more, but judging by Puck’s face, it meant less.

Running at around 10-11 minutes, Puck manages to split itself into two segments. The first five minutes introduces the two characters, then the sex connects the next five minutes which entail the deep aftermath of the encounter. In paralleling the ferocious energy of sex, the second half featuring the aftermath is a real come down. 

Visually, Puck is quite incredible. Presented in the retro 4.3 aspect ratio, this short does an excellent job in strengthening and forcing the intimacy between the characters within a tighter picture. Equipped with excellent grain, a striking bleakness is present after the sex. In tone, ambiance and visual, there is an exceptionally impressive depressive mood present. Director Rebecca Ozer succeeds in really emphasising the characters’ moods with mise-en-scene, and connecting them with the viewing audience.  

Ultimately, Puck does an excellent job in presenting desire in terms of sex and relationship. This well-crafted short film establishes a debate into casual sex, relationships, and whether it is fair to proceed despite the parties involved having different or opposing interests and expectations. Caleb Russell and Joe Lindley do a magnificent job in this presentation.

Puck had its world premiere at MANIFF 2023 on Sunday 19th March.

4 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source,

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