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Gasman (1997)

Original Title : Gasman
Director : Lynne Ramsay
Writer : Lynne Ramsay
Genre : Short
Country : UK
Language : English
Producer : Gavin Emerson , Barbara McKissack , Oscar van Heek
Photography : Alwin H. Kuchler
IMDB ID : 0122498
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poster for "Gasman" by Lynne Ramsay (1997)
Gasman (1997) - Lynne Ramsay
 

Starring

Lynne Ramsay Jr. Lynne
Martin Anderson Steven
James Ramsay Da
Denise Flannagan Ma
Jackie Quinn Woman
Lisa Taylor Girl
Robert McEwan Boy
 

Comments

Much better than the cr*p that Ramsey has been putting out as features in the few years since making this short A single mother drops off her daughter and son with their father so that he can take them and his other child to a Christmas party. Both the adults are struggling to make ends meet in the depressed region in Scotland and the father finds things hard going trying to keep the kids happy with very little cash in his pocket. Lynne Ramsey's short film has very little plot and allows you to look into a situation or a theme without the hindrance of having to tell a full story at the same time. In this regard I had no problem with it because this is what many short films are like and I watch many short films but really this is what Ramsey continues to do with her short films so it is more of a flaw in her than a decision to make this short in this way! I generally disliked both of the features I have seen from the same director but I will always try things I haven't seen –, even from occasionally pretentious Scottish directors! I actually enjoyed this because, in the short format, I didn't mind that she had dropped plot for a more general flow and I actually found this short to be more enjoyable than her features! The general story is one of split families and poor conditions and it is interesting because so much is conveyed by minor actions and looks. It won't win any prizes (although amazingly her other stuff has) but I did enjoy it and it was interesting enough to keep me watching. The cast are all OK and seem natural enough, even if it is very much a family affair –, I don't know if Ramsey sees herself as some sort of Scottish working class crusader but I certainly don't think her family fit into the working class mould –, the girl playing Lynne was rather posh even if the man playing Da was suitably rough around the edges and did well conveying the feel of a man rather crushed by his situation –, but not totally crushed, just more worn. Overall this is not a great short but I was surprised to like it at all. It is much better than the features that Ramsey has made even though it contains the same 'weaknesses' as those features –, the difference being that in a short film, lack of plot and character development is not so much a problem as in a 90 minute feature. Maybe nobody has explained this to her! Anyway, not much plot but the concept is interesting and Ramsey's direction is good in creating the feel of poverty and life without a great deal of hope or happiness.