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SHORT FOCUS 2019: Disco Dynamite [Tom Clover, UK, 2019]

Roller Discos: for most, a glitzy, garish, embarrassing and nostalgic joy. Disco Dynamite? A glitzy, garish, embarrassing and nostalgic joy! Tom Clover’s film follows Gary and his determined efforts to get his skates back on in order to impress the new girl at work with whom he is smitten. The results are joyous and wacky, and sure to leave those watching punching the air with joy.

One of Disco Dynamite’s enviable strengths is its colourful and comedic cast. Every character in the ensemble has that feeling of having their own lives, so difficult to deliver in a short, and truly existing in the world of the film. Whether it be a roller disco emcee, jubilant with pride in his work, or the shocked young women who watch Gary practice his roller-skating moves from the safety of a nearby parked car, the cast is packed full with interesting little cameo moments that really fill out the humdrum world that Gary exists in.

Tom Clover's Disco Dynamite (2019)

Disco Dynamite delivers fully on its most important promise – it is a comedy film that is genuinely funny! A large part of this is, again, a result of characterization. The casting seems to always be spot on, particularly with the anxious Gary, our reluctant hero. Fast-pan camera movements in the café where he works, really give the viewer a sense of Gary’s skittish, ultra-receptive awareness of the events around him as he stands in an unbearably anxious resting state. One memorable instance shows Gary quitting his job in a smoking blaze of glory, only to unceremoniously trip on his skates as he leaves. You can see the slapstick moment coming a mile off, but with its flawless execution you still find yourself grinning inanely.

Disco Dynamite is a short that has had the utmost care taken over its presentation. Whether it be the gorgeous visuals from a psychedelic spin washer, or the suitably ‘angsty’ use of Molly Nilsson’s song ‘I Hope You Die’ for Gary and Sally’s first dance, there are more than enough tiny moments to give you something to talk about once the credits have rolled. Its climactic scene is lovely and should leave even the most hopeless of romantics with a message of hope.


‘Disco Dynamite’ was part of the Official Selection for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.


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