Hey gang, Valkor here. January is going to be an interesting month for TOV, especially on the film side because we’ll be dipping into a hefty batch of shorts. Next up is a solo piece from one of the hardest working indie actors I’ve seen to date, Timothy Cox, with a film titled “What Jack Built”.
“What Jack Built” is an 11-minute piece that focuses entirely on a man named Jack (Let’s assume he’s Jack), who is based in the woods, and is feverishly building some sort of contraption. By the end of it all, we see that it’s some kind of trap. Once the trap is fully setup, all Jack has to do is wait for whatever is supposed to come, to fall in. Jack falls asleep during his watch, but when he awakens, the trap is set. However, when he goes to investigate, whatever was in there has gotten out. And the film ends with Jack confronting… whatever it is he was meant to catch before fading out.
I’ve dealt with my share of solo pieces prior to this, which is usually “man-in-box” type films such as “Buried” or “Brake”; with those films, the actor has to keep his viewing audience captivated for at least 90 minutes. With a film like “What Jack Built”, it gets right to the point. However, is this good or bad? Let’s find out in the TOV Breakdown.
I could take the artsy route with “What Jack Built” and say stuff like “it’s a piece that speaks upon the duality of man versus beast or against himself in the fight for his own survival from oneself”. Or some BS like that. But I won’t go there. Instead, the short film is a strong and silent piece that’s more about showing off Timothy Cox’s range using only his actions and expressions. There were a few moments where he looks almost maniacal as he pieces together parts of his contraption. And I’d have easily taken the film up ½ a point if he had kept on the goggles and overcoat the entire time. Add the cigar and it gives the film something of a comic book feel. And the ending leaves me wondering because Jack doesn’t look entirely scared when he’s confronted by whatever it is he's supposed to be facing. I mean, there’s a slight sense of familiarity in those eyes, or that could just be my own assumptions. But whatever you take away from “What Jack Built”, you’ll know that it wasn’t an 11-minute disappointment. I enjoyed it.
You can watch “What Jack Built” right here on TOV. And stay tuned as I'll have a few more films from Timothy Cox and company coming down the pike. Will they pass the test or will they be subjugated to Val-ridicule until my fingers are sore from typing? You’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “What Jack Built” a strong 3.5