A smart short from 23 1/2 films, 'Two Pound Forty Pence' turns an everyday occurrence into a disturbingly wry thriller story. When a man leaves a friend's flat late one night, he has just enough money to get him home. A homeless beggar harmlessly asks for change but he ignores the request and hurries on his journey. Inexplicably the beggar keeps appearing along his route, dark and threatening even though he does little more than continually ask the same question. It's fair to assume that this man is not going to arrive home safely.
This simple concept played out between just two actors is a great premise for a low budget short and the film definitely delivers on atmosphere and intrigue. A minimal script; the dialogue is kept short and sweet allowing the images themselves to dominate the story. This is where the film really does shine. Shot entirely outside, playing with the glow of urban night lighting and the dark patches that lurk around every corner, it looks fantastic and plays in to that primal fear we all have of being followed home at night. Director Daniel Harding has created a great overall feel for the film, as you instantly understand the type of world you are stepping in to and it consistently delivers throughout. The music composed by Gus Nicholson, although perhaps a little overused at times, nicely plays in to the genre and strikes the right note.
In terms of performances, Steve Larkin is perfectly cast as the beggar who says very little (one line to be exact) yet still exudes an unsettling and unnerving quality. Less is often more, which is definitely the case in this portrayal. More dialogue is given over to Neil James who plays the everyman just trying to get home. He certainly fits the bill but at times it feels like his dialogue over-explains his position.
In some ways reminiscent of the sublime 'Inside Number Nine', the film delves in to the disturbances of everyday life. 'Two Pound' is definitely an entertaining thriller, splashed with dark humour and a thoroughly satisfying ending. The film offers no clear answers, which is part of its charm; instead it offers up an idea to play with, provoking interaction and discussion with your mates afterwards.
With an interesting back catalogue of shorts, 23 1/2 films explore interesting concepts that leave the viewer to their own conclusions. If that sounds like your bag, head over to their website to discover more.
Two Pound Forty Pence (2016, UK)
Director: Daniel Harding
Cast: Neil James & Steve Larkin