All hail the greasy spoon! This is the message of Rolfin Nyhus’s charming six-minute short, Two Down. Set in a classic London café, three men try to solve a crossword clue amidst the pleasant fug of chip fat and frying bacon. Brilliant acting and an unexpectedly fabulous use of labels make this short one to look out for at the Short Focus Film Festival this September.
The opening credits are a treat of pastel coloured symmetry, as the crew and cast’s names flash up amongst offers of full fry-ups and corned beef. Who knew that liver, bacon, chips and peas for £4.25 could ever look so good?
Diggsy (Chris Anderson) and Derek (Richard Stephenson Winter) are wonderfully and fittingly drab. It is almost as if the grease from the food has seeped into their skin, hair and Derek’s old battered coat. These two endearing characters are part of the film’s integral triumph: the perfect encapsulation of the greasy spoon atmosphere.
Ryan Laccohee is also fantastic as the surly builder and unexpected font of knowledge. As each character enters the café, the relations between them change ever so slightly - note Diggsy’s boyish nerves as a sophisticated young woman orders the Mediterranean platter, or Derek’s rise to a great British pedant when his intellectual prowess is challenged by the builder’s expertise on martial arts. This gives a loveable rendition of the loose relations between strangers in cafes not only in London but all around the world.
The simplicity of Nyhus’ short works incredibly well and, what’s more, it is set off by the loveliness of the kitsch setting and brilliant onscreen chemistry. What a fitting love letter to a long unsung pillar of British culture.
'Two Down' was part of the Official Selection at Short Focus Film Festival 2019.