Short Film: Beef Barley Brothers
Charity begins — and probably should end — at home. A well-meaning yuppie buys lunch for a homeless fellow in Luke Black‘s charmingly comedic short film Beef Barley Brothers, but as do-gooder Steve starts immediately patting himself on the back for his charitable heart, his mealtime companion has other ideas — and none of them sane.
Jayson Therrien and Josh Bertwistle star as Steve and the Hobo respectively; and, while both characters border on the cartoonish side, the actors downplay their roles, making them both realistic and likable, which contributes strongly to the film’s success.
Therrien only lets Steve’s arrogance burst out in limited, measured doses, so that his dreams of being hailed publicly as a hero are pleasant wishful thinking and not stereotypical douchebaggery found in characters of this sort. That way the audience can stay on Steve’s side when the lunch ultimately goes south. Meanwhile, Bertwistle wonderfully never breaks character as, in his child-like mental state, reveals the type of paranoid (and racist) ravings a normal person, i.e. not Steve, would expect, again keeping the Hobo likeable as he spews unlikeable statements.
Black’s direction of Christopher Turtle’s nicely measured script is very straight-forward, without flash nor playing to the comedic elements. The evolution of Steve and the Hobo’s relationship builds at a good, realistic pace, which is wise to have centered the attention so squarely on the two main characters given the actors’ strong performances.