Black Bart (Bernard Robichaud of The Trailer Park Boys) just wants a drink. He has just been released from prison and, some might say, is the very definition of a thug. Now that he has regained his freedom, he just wants to find a bar, get a drink (or maybe a little something more), and avoid those who may be looking for him to repay some old debts.
Black Bart is directed by Andrew Young, a Canadian stand-up comic, writer, and filmmaker. Black Bart was co-written and co-produced by Robichaud and Young and features very Trailer Park Boys style dialogue. The main issue I found here is that unlike The Trailer Park Boys episodes and movies, nothing really happens. Young has stated that Black Bart is meant to be the first in a series of shorts chronicling Bart’s travels as he coasts around trying to avoid the people he owes. The problem is he doesn’t seem to be doing anything besides avoiding people — at least from this 15 minute short it doesn’t seem like he is doing anything.
The entire run time is dialogue driven but the dialogue seems misplaced and without direction. It’s more of a stream of thought type of writing. I assume the intention was to make it funny as well, but I didn’t really catch anything that I found amusing. It really did seem like following a couple of guys that go to a bar to get a drink. Like in real life. They don’t really say anything and don’t really do anything, resolve anything or plan for anything. There is no arc of any sort in this short film, no direction as to where it’s headed. We’re left pretty much where we started when all is said and done.
The camera work has some interesting moments, but the budget really seems to shout off the screen here, and that wasn’t really a good thing at all. There are interior shots where you can barely make out characters faces. I understand budget limitations but turning a few lights on shouldn’t really be an issue? Unfortunately, Black Bart ends up seeming less like the beginning of a series and more like a short film that was never finished. Robichaud’s performance is actually very good, his portrayal of Bart is pretty much the only thing that keeps your attention but you will ultimately wonder when something is going to happen to him. Or to anyone. Black Bart has lots of potential under its skin but feels underwritten, under budgeted and underequipped.
Watch Black Bart