Short Film Mondays – Doodlebug by Christopher Nolan

The idea here is to find a new short film every week; give my opinion on it and perhaps any interesting facts, and then really welcome comments, interpretations and even recommendations. Unfortunately, they often don’t get as much attention as feature films do and so I thought, and hopefully you will too, that it would be interesting to highlight a different short film every week and over time we should get to see a decent range of films.
Anyway, without further ado…

To start off with, I thought that Christopher Nolan’s first work would be of some interest.

Doodlebug:

There’s spoilers from here on in:

Whilst I found Doodlebug fairly predictable, it’s also rather interesting when looking at the thematic similarities to Nolan’s later works, and the different ways that they would then be developed. Cycles are pretty prominent here, a sense of endless repetition and even events within events which is of course reminiscent of Inception. The extent that man will go to despite his own destruction, I thought was interestingly handled here and is seen later, most prominently in The Prestige. The twist ending is also familiar and the film noir setting of course is seen again in Memento.

I think that it really succeeds at creating an unsettling atmosphere and feels almost Kafkaesque the way that it probes into the nature of mankind and our obsessions, and also with familiar elements such as the disorientating environment and man being represented as an insect. The contrast between the sense of timelessness and isolation against the very prominent ticking of the clock is my favourite aspect of this film – just a really great way of creating unease and tension.

Overall I enjoyed Doodlebug, I thought it was well made and has stuck in the back of my mind for days after first watching it. From the moment that the ‘bug’ is revealed I thought the outcome was pretty obvious – but still made for an interesting film.

Please though, let me know what you thought below in the comment box and also maybe any initial feedback about this Short Film Monday idea.

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6 comments

  1. Great to see someone giving some more attention to short films, a great idea. Nice review, too. I like that there are some similiarities to Nolans latter work in terms of style. Worth a watch

    1. Thank you, well hopefully this will work out. I kept thinking that the short film really suited the online blog format- it being immediate, short, and people are able to watch it there and then.

  2. Great post, looking forward to future short movie posts.

    1. Thank you, and thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Short Film Mondays is a great idea. Sometimes it’s frustrating when I read one of your reviews of a film I haven’t seen; even when they’re not patricularly positive reviews, it’d at least be interesting to see how much I agree with your comments &c., so this is perfect for that.
    Here, you said most of the things I thought while watching it. I think the only point I had that you didn’t pick up is that it’s a shame the special effects are so unconvincing. Obviously what they achieved here is impressive on what I assume was a tiny budget, but it’d be so much more unsettling if it weren’t for the distracting moment of “That looks fake”.
    Anyway, thanks for this, looking forward to next week’s.
    Say, I don’t know how short you want your short films to be, but Tim Burton’s 1984 Frankenweenie (30m) is available on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE10-Mforlo), & considering the remake comes out soon, it might be an interesting film to feature.

    1. Thank you, I thought that it may be good for those reasons.
      True about the effects but I let that one slide as it was out of their control. Your point stands though and it is a shame that it jolts us out of the film at some key moments.
      Thank you for the suggestion – I doubt I’ll use it because of its length but… I’ll think about it and as you say it is relevant.

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