The Cycle is a short film directed by Chris Suffield of the Vulture Hound parish and Mike Jelves. Opening with the ambiguous and puzzling words of, “I slept last night”, the director duo’s short film follows the exploits of an insomniac. John Bocelli plays a twenty something who is suffering from crippling Insomnia and at the suggestion of his therapist he records himself talking to camera as a vehicle to come to terms with his condition. The Cycle adopts a stylised approach to telling its story which is not quite found footage; this is more of a documentary direction. As far as set-ups for using the camera as a tool to exist in the films world rather than a tool of voyeurism, this is well conceived.

The set-piece might be well realised but at near enough 30 minutes long, watching scene after scene of Bocelli acting and delivering these monologues to the camera can be quite tiring. Not to be dismissive by saying that, what keeps you watching is the two highlights and strengths of the film. The script by Suffield and the acting by Bocelli are excellent in their no frills reality, that begs questions whether the content is fantasy or reality. It may not be found footage, but the quality that approach evokes is one of realism and that realism is perfectly pitched in the cycle. The monologues are exquisitely delivered to camera and written with an honesty and sadness. There is an almost improvised quality to the script and for a written script to arouse those conclusions make this short nothing more than extraordinary.

It may feel long thanks its simplistic story and abundance of similar scenes, luckily it receives a kick of adrenaline about 20 minutes in with the introduction of the potential love interest which sparks the film towards the unexpected ending. This twist does play a little loose with the linear time frame and it does confuse as to what is trying to be achieved and when. It’s only in hindsight, looking back over the film that you realise the meaning of little flourishes and the context of this story. Its impressive stuff even if it challenges your patience with its long running time. What is also well filmed in spite of the lack of funds is the climax which evokes feelings of unease at the revelation of who this character is without the ugly head of money undermining the desired effects. The fantasy continues and it continues to be outright believable.

To shock like the cycle does is impressively ambitious even if the failures are as abundant as the successes. Despite this the directing team of Suffield & Jelves have piqued my interest as to what their futures hold.

Rob Simpson

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