Saturday, 26 April 2008

Kate Steed "Death by Scrabble"

Death By Scrabble directed by Kate Steed is based on a 2005 short story of the same name by Charlie Fish. He sets the scene:
It's a hot day and I hate my wife. We're playing Scrabble. That's how bad it is. I'm 42 years old, it's a blistering hot Sunday afternoon and all I can think of to do with my life is to play Scrabble.”
The voice of Glen McCready is fitting as the discontented moaner with Zoe Anne-Phillips providing equally adroit assistance in her role as the wife who humiliates her partner at the Scrabble table. The middle aged man stuck in a rut, blaming everything that is wrong with his life on his partner, twining, moaning, fantasising, procrastinating: it is all contained in this confident movie and adaptation. Given it is based around a board game Kate has made every effort to provide variety and visual stimulation. She is not averse to shock tactics - the wife's head is blown to smithereens and Kate's intelligent manoeuvres of the Scrabble board are never less than fun, including the artful use of the pieces in the closing credits. There is also a revealing insight into the character of Sharon Stone. In the conventionally drawn 2D piece Kate has achieved a remarkably adept interpretation of the story. Humour, albeit of a dark sort, abounds. ("Do you want tea, dear?" "It's the hottest day in ten years and my wife is putting on the kettle. This is why I hate her.") The narrative's twists and turns, together with a surprising ending, provide a good script for this talented young animator. Kate's third year graduation movie was made in 2007 and, one would suspect, obtained a decent degree! A student at The University College for the Creative Arts at Surrey's Farnham campus, Kate shares a good heritage as Suzie Templeton is one of the more famous alumni. Together with Aaran Wood, Kate has set up Slurpy Studios. (Aaran's work is perhaps to be the subject of another article.) The movie is another contender at Annecy 2008. The pity of it is I'm doing my paid work at that time! I'm beginning to sound like him.

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