SXSW 2010: Skeletons

Set in the picturesque East Midlands, Nick Whitfield’s “Skeletons” stars Ed Gaughan and Andrew Buckley as Davis and Bennett, a pair of traveling salesmen who literally clean skeletons out of closets. The Procedure, as it’s known, magically transports them into their clients’ deepest, darkest secrets, where they can then assume control of the people within the memory and free them of their guilty conscience. When their boss, The Colonel (Jason Isaacs), assigns them to an especially tricky case with the promise of a promotion to higher-profile clients like politicians, Davis and Bennett jump at the chance. But after a rare mistake leaves Davis in an indefinite trance, The Colonel arrives in town to clean up the mess.

skeletons

Based on Whitfield’s 2006 short film of the same name, “Skeletons” is very much a tale of two movies. While the first half is a decidedly more comedic take on the skeleton cleaning business – with several laughs coming from Davis and Bennett’s humorous relationship – the second half gets a whole lot darker. The stakes are raised and the mysticism behind The Procedure plays a bigger role in the story. Whitfield never quite explains how everything works, but he shows the audience enough that you sort of just take his word for it. It’s a one-of-a-kind idea that’s ultimately undone by a confusing final act, and although it probably worked better in its shorter format, “Skeletons” is still something you have to see at least once. And even then, regardless of whether you liked it or not, you might want to watch it again just in case you missed something the first time around.

  

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