Best Laid Plans Of Vice And Men
Have you ever planned an elaborate surprise for someone special, only to have it backfire completely. Well, times that by ten and you’ve got the plot of Nash Edgerton’s Bear, the first short film presented in the VICE Shorts series. Being an offshoot of the (in)famous VICE magazine, one expects content that’s edgy, if not shocking, and hilarious, and the ten-minute Bear lives up to expectations.
Without spoiling anything, the film is about a man – with an awesome bear suit, hence the name – who plans a surprise in the woods for his girlfriend, but things go horribly, horribly wrong. Because it’s a short from VICE, one expects some sort of sick, shocking twist, so the impact is actually lessened by them presenting it. A decent start out of the gate, though. According to the press release, “The new web series fills the void of short films online by showcasing works of emerging directors on VICE's YouTube Channel, the leading destination for original online video programming.”
That channel is here and has over 600 videos, most of them documentaries, ranging in lengths from about five minutes to feature-length. They cover everything from pollution in China to getting high on snake venom, cannibal warlords of Liberia to the man who invented the Cosby sweater, plus snowboarding videos, celebrity profiles and restaurant features. Adding narrative shorts offers a fantastic high-traffic outlet for filmmakers directing shorts, which otherwise struggle to get seen outside of festivals. Other directors to be featured in the future include Spencer Susser, who directed Hesher, and Ray Tintori, who made music videos for MGMT.
Edgerton is a safe bet for launching VICE Shorts, as he’s been making shorts for two decades with his brother Joel, most shot in their homeland of Australia. Nash has worked in Hollywood as a stuntman on films such as Dark City, The Matrix series, The Thin Red Line, the upcoming Great Gatsby and as Ewan McGregor’s double in the last two Star Wars movies. Joel has appeared in Zero Dark Thirty, The Thing remake and the last two Star Wars movies as Uncle Owen. On top of that, Nash has directed three video for Bob Dylan.
But, as you can see by the shorts they’ve done, which are on the YouTube page for the brother’s film company Blue Tongue Films, they seem to be the most happy making action films with fast cars, foot chases, burst of violence and plenty of darkness. I watched all of the shorts directed by Nash, with the highlights being the twisted seventeen-minute, horror-themed Fuel; the grimly hilarious nine-minute companion piece to Bear, called Spider; and the spectacular five-minute stunt reel of a short called Lucky. Nash stars in the latter two.
If you enjoyed the shorts as much as I did, you’ll definitely want to check out Nash’s only feature-length film, the 2008 Hitchcockian thriller The Square. The crackling Aussie movie is an achingly suspenseful crime drama in which a man and his lover decide to steal a bag of money from her husband so they can run away together, but instead set off a horrible chain of events that leads to accidental deaths, intentional deaths to cover up the mounting crimes and loads of really grim twists. Check out the trailer and then watch it on Netflix – you’ll be surprised that it isn’t more widely known.
If this is the hint of things to come with VICE films, it’s a very, very good sign.