Written and directed by Fabien Oman, co-directed by Philip Kidd, a struggling young antiques dealer makes an astonishing discovery. Starring: Esther Ayo James, Aidan O’Sullivan, Kevin Paul Flanagan and Niamh Walsh.
Anyone who’s ever watched a single antiques show will know just how over enthusiastic and unendingly bubbly or dramatic they can be, Wallpaper takes that into its stride while also making a fun original story of its own. It simultaneously pokes fun at that typical overt, almost manic, energy that you see with those type of shows and uses it to its advantage by dialling it down to the perfect amount. It has a comic presence that’s reminiscent of the 70s and 80s, especially in its use of narration. At the same time it brings in the modern pressures of success and facing those who immediately doubt your abilities based on your youth or gender. It’s playful and silly but doesn’t become over the top.
The directorial styles of Fabien Oman and Philip Kidd also feel like a nod to television. The atmosphere that they create parallels with classic British sitcoms. They bring through a comical vibe but also just enough awkwardness to make it feel real. It holds a solid charm throughout, the characters are well put together, they fit a certain mould but aren’t constrained within that. There’s a fairly old fashioned sense of humour at work, which if you took away the appearances of technology, it could fit happily into multiple decades. They also chose great locations which easily provide everything that the story needs. It has a quick pacing to it, with some strong editing work, it moves swiftly and effectively and most importantly, highly enjoyably.
Another huge strength of the film comes in the form of Esther Ayo James and Aidan O’Sullivan. James sets everything up, she’s got great charisma and her character is hugely dedicated. Then O’Sullivan comes in and pushes the comedy, before the two create a great banter. They’re classically opposite characters, beginning at odds then breaking through to that common ground and finding what they respect in one another. It’s always great to see an unlikely duo come together and it’s satisfying to watch.
Wallpaper is funny, playful and has two great leads in Esther Ayo James and Aidan O’Sullivan. One of the biggest signs of a short film’s success is that you want to see more, and you’ll definitely be left wanting these two to return for another antiques adventure. It’s shot and edited well, it moves with great pacing and personality. It pokes fun at the ridiculous nature of antiques shows along the way and it’s a really enjoyable watch.