Masterpiece is an intriguing short. It’s set within the art world and is full of deception and double crossings as a group of people all try to benefit from a highly prized piece of art. Some nice character building takes place at the beginning, as we are introduced to the interesting and quirky range of characters that populate this world. Many cast members establish a presence very quickly within the film, particularly Suzie Houlihan, Yvonne Murphy II, and Barrington Cullen, who all deliver fun and memorable performances. Thankfully Masterpiece keeps the mystery that it sets up going, rather than coping out and filling us in on the details earlier into the film. It’s a lot more fun being thrown into the middle of these people’s tactical moves without having any real clue as to what’s going on. In fact it made me want to revisit the short a couple of times to really be sure of everything, which is great.
Masterpiece did put a smile on my face and had me engaged as I worked my way through the plot and its twist and turns, however there are a few issues which should be addressed here. Firstly the film’s budget does show through a little in certain areas, predominately the sets. They’re at odds with the stylish and presumably expensive title sequence, and a little more balance across the board wouldn’t have gone amiss. Even if the titles were achieved cheaply, in which case they are very impressive, it still sets up an expectation which isn’t quite met in terms of the film’s presentation. It’s not a big issue, but it is worth mentioning. One element of the film which I thought did have the potential to be distracting and yet wasn’t, was the score. It plays throughout the piece and I found it to be an integral part of the film’s fabric and was pretty effective. Otherwise I only have a few minor quibbles with the film, the primary one being that a little of the acting was occasionally slightly off, and yet this wasn’t enough to spoil the experience for me.
I had fun with Masterpiece and its humour, characters, and story. It takes a great approach to an interesting plot and very much succeeds at what it’s trying to achieve. There’s a running joke throughout the film for art fans that I didn’t get until it is explained in the credits, but that’s certainly my own fault for being so very far from an art connoisseur, rather than being the film’s. However, as much as it’s a really nice idea, it could have been used slightly more subtly within the film, as I was aware of it even if I didn’t understand it. It’s still fun though and I like its inclusion, but its details like this which make Masterpiece a little rough around the edges, but I maintain that it’s certainly worth checking out.