You may have seen the trailer for Brian & Charles we posted recently. It is a simple story of a man who builds his own robot. I had the chance to see it this weekend, and here’s my review.
Brian & Charles stars David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, and Jamie Michie. It was written by Earl and Hayward and directed by Jim Archer. The movie is based on an original short by Archer, made in 2017. The story is:
“After a particularly harsh winter Brian goes into a deep depression; completely isolated and with no one to talk to, Brian does what any sane person would do when faced with such a melancholic situation. He builds a robot.”
I would say that the movie is quintessentially British. It is set in a small village in the middle of Wales. It is constantly raining and the landscape is bleak. The main character, Brian (Earl), is exactly what you would imagine an eccentric English inventor to look and behave like.
I found myself laughing frequently during the movie, possibly because I know somebody who is exactly like Brian in real life. He’s a little bit bonkers, shy when it comes to the ladies, but overall he’s a really nice and friendly chap.
We meet Brian as a mockumentary crew start to film his everyday life as an inventor. He has an idea, so he makes it. Things like his pine cone bag, which is just pretty much a bag with pine cones glued to it.
He has an idea about building a robot, so he does it. Charles, the robot, loves cabbages and wants to learn about everything. That’s all the story I’m going reveal as I don’t want to spoil it.
In today’s CGI covered world of movies it was so great to see a robot that has nothing at all to do with CG. It’s an old dummy’s head, a blue light for an eye and a washing machine for a tummy. This all sounds stupid, but it works so incredibly well.
I found myself genuinely believing Charles was real as his personality was so well written and performed. As Charles “grows up”, he becomes more difficult to deal with. Brian tells him that the world can be perilous and wants to keep him at home, where he’s safe. Charles starts to rebel and act like a teenager, which is hilarious for us, but heart-breaking for Brian.
The movie is simple, fun and asks some interesting questions about life, friendship and having to deal with other people.
I found on a couple of occasions that the filmmakers forgot it was supposed to be a mockumentary and filmed it like a movie, but that is just me being picky. Overall, it’s very well made, very well acted and a real treat of a film.
In world where movies cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, it was so refreshing to see something that at times feels like it cost about £50 to make, and £40 of that was spent on a second-hand washing machine. I’m obviously exaggerating, but the movie could not have cost a huge amount to make, and that doesn’t matter.
What you have is a fantastic set of characters and a wonderful little story, all brought together in a thoroughly entertaining way. I would say this is straight into my top ten of the year so far, possibly right into the top five.
I give Brian & Charles the highest possible marks. As I always say, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s sweet, funny and just a very well made movie. The best bromance I’ve seen in a while. I loved it.