Much loved comics author Alan Moore retired from the medium back in 2019 as he felt he’d done everything he could within the industry, but thankfully he hasn’t given up writing for good and as well as his mammoth novel Jerusalem has decided to make films. This isn’t exactly a new venture, with director Mitch Jenkins he made 5 short films several years ago, and this functions as a sequel to them.
Not that you’ll need to have seen those films to understand this, though if you so wish three of them have been edited together under the title Show Pieces which currently airs on Shudder, and though it references them and includes a couple of very short clips from them, it’s very much a stand alone work. It’s an absolute must see if you have any interest in fantasy as well, it’s not an out and out comedy but has enough amusing moments to fall within the site’s remit.
It begins with a private eye calling himself Steve Lipman (Tom Burke) arriving in Nottingham searching for a gold cross that’s supposedly been stolen, only to find that the man he thought responsible is dead and the cross is missing. As he tries to cover the deceased man’s final hours alive he meets a number of unusual characters, teams up with Faith (Siobhan Hewlett), a woman who almost died that night herself, and the mystery thickens as it involves a murder in the nineteen seventies and two comedians who have long since passed on.
Moore has mocked the idea that this is in any way Lynchian but it’s hard not to imagine that might have been a slight influence, what with the way dreams are an important part of the storyline, and one scene is set in a very unusual location with red curtains and characters who haven’t been alive for a rather long time. It has its own unique tone and feel though, and is very playful when it comes to cinematic conventions, what with the way Lipman meets two children who claim they’re detectives and the scene is in black and white with a jazzy soundtrack.
A lot of the dialogue is very funny too, with acclaimed stand up comedian Andrew O’Neill delivering some very funny lines, as do the majority of the rest of the cast, and Moore has a role in the film himself which is darkly funny, though not only that, and he proves himself to be an extremely skilled actor. Visually this is outstanding material as well, containing many an extremely memorable image of the kind I wish we saw much, much more of in modern cinema.
Screened online as part of the recent FrightFest festival a release date has yet to be announced, but I truly hope that it does get a proper release as British fantasy films are made far too rarely, especially when it comes to ones as good as this is. Plus if it’s successful there are plans to make a spin-off tv series based on some of the characters, and it’d be a terrible shame if we live in a world where that never gets made.