Burn It All ★★★ 3/4 Bolton International Film Festival

Burn It All ★★★ 3/4 Bolton International Film Festival

Burn It All is a sharp short film from Jack Hickey, who keeps his film playful while having that undercurrent of pain flow through it in Bobbie. It is a comedy that knows exactly how to lure you in. Toni O’Rourke is a tremendous ball of energy here, demanding your attention every moment.

After her father leaves her mother for her best friend, a devastated Bobbie (Toni O’Rourke) embarks on a chaotic campaign of revenge.

Jack Hickey utilises some great bits of comedy in Burn It All, with us following the infuriated Bobbie; anything and everything is possible. Epic middle-finger duels are the order of the day. Broken bottles and petulance, as well as the worst/best anger run seen in years, he has a firm grasp of comedy. However, he has far more up his sleeve as a filmmaker than the opening half of Burn It All presents itself as. This isn’t just an entertaining jaunt with a vengeful daughter.

For Burn It All tricks you in the most glorious of ways. You think you have the short film pegged as a daft comedy with a tinge of sadness slithered through it, then bang, Lorcan Cranitch’s Mr Barrett comes into the film and flips everything you thought about it on its head. It is rare for a film, never mind a short film, to catch you so off guard as effortlessly as Jack Hickey manages here with his script.

The turn in Bobbie’s character is a fitting one, with a character giving her context about why she should be passive and not to unleash her clear anger issues on others. They may deserve it, but would it really make her feel better? Or is it a case of her simply kicking her issues down the road until she inevitably comes up against them again? With such a sharp script, you can’t help but appreciate how relatable not only Bobbie’s anger is but her eventual realisation that that anger shouldn’t define her as everyone around her has mentioned.

We have characters continually joke or comment on her short temper, how if she is wronged, then God help anyone who gets in her way. She is a woman who loves justice, violent or otherwise, but no one ever gives her reasoning to see the other side of it. Just that she should calm down; she shouldn’t take it personally (even if it is as personal as it gets), as that is just how the world is. People care for her but never try to make her see reason. That important conversation with Mr Barrett does, and as such, all of that pent-up anger unfurls itself on her emotionally.

Toni O’Rourke perfectly juggles those emotional and poignant scenes with her unrestricted comedic anger. At the film’s beginning, you can sense as an actor that she is having an utter ball of a time. Bobbie cares little for consequences and will always do what she thinks is correct. However, under all of that bravado, there is someone who is simply hurting. Her mother’s heart has been ripped up, but she is hanging in there. No one seems to have the impetus to care as much as her, so she gets angry. Yet, the person she trusted most outside of her family circle just demolished her trust, so what is she to do with all these complicated emotions?

Burn It All is a well-made film that highlights the strength of Jack Hickey as a filmmaker and of Toni O’Rourke as an actress; whatever their next projects are, you will be invested in it thanks to this short film.

★★★ 3/4

The Bolton International Film Festival is running physically from October 4th – 8th and Online from the 11th – 22nd October. For more information please click here.

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