You might know Irish actor Jack Hickey from his various on screen roles, appearing in Emmerdale, Penny Dreadful and even Game of Thrones. The seasoned screen star has now dipped his toes into the world of directing, with wondrous results. His first short film Cynthia leaves a lasting impression with an emotional story and unforgettable performances.
Titled after the lead protagonist, the story begins as Cynthia stands shakily on a windy doorstep, gathering the courage to knock. The first few silent shots demonstrate Hickeys strengths as a director; they are ripe in subtext and meaning. It is quickly gathered that something big has happened, perhaps for the worse, been Cynthia and the people who’s home she now stands in front of.
This is a short film that constantly has you guessing, each shot, movement and line provide a clue to the story behind the group of friends gathered in this cozy house, where the mood is icy cold.You can easily see the influence of Hickeys acting experience on Cynthia’s dynamic script. He wind’s wonderful subtext into playful dinner conversation, until the tense atmosphere can be held no longer and it breaks.
What is left is one of the most poignant character monologues I’ve ever seen. A master class in vulnerability and realism, Clare Dunne gives a stunning performance as Cynthia.The cast is impressive across the board, their undeniable chemistry is what reels you into the complex situation at hand and you immediately feel at home with them. It feels almost as if you are sat at dinner with your own family just messier, full of anticipation and mystery.
In an impressive entrance into film making, Jack Hickey demonstrates how to make unrequited love, tarnished friendships and unspoken truths feel like your life is on the line. As an authentic short with real heart and soul, Cynthia is not to be missed.
I also interviewed Jack Hickey, the director of Cynthia, you can read it here!