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Podge [Rebecca Singleton, Ireland, 2017]

This tale of a lonely mortician goes to dark and disturbing ends to explore the link between morality and desire. Podge, the eponymous protagonist is a lonely mortician who spends more time around dead bodies than live ones. His only apparent relationships are a platonic one with his colleague Colleen and the celebrities in his calendar that he idolises. At home he lives like a slob, leaving dirty plates strewn across the floor and drinking beer until he falls asleep on the couch. With the television still on we learn of the tragic death of a famous actress.

Plenty morgue where that came from

The next morning, still unbeknownst to Podge, the body of the superstar has ended up on his embalming table and Colleen attempts with all of her energies to prevent him from entering his room, acutely aware of the distress it might cause. Upon discovering the body, Podge suffers something of a meltdown and his reaction to the situation can be best explained as bizarre and irrational, going far beyond his professional duties in order to reconcile his perceived loss.

Tonally, the film feels a little off-balance. There are some moments of black-comedy but the strength of its delivery doesn’t manage to cut through the more dark and tragic elements of the plot. Perhaps, with more coherent backstories, each of the characters’ motivations might appear more justified, but here their actions feel a little ‘out of the blue’. That being said, the idea itself is strong and, considering its very low budget, is executed with some flair, with particular credit to Nathan Redmond whose cinematography provides coldness to the mortuary scenes through the bluish-green lighting.

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