Review: Traffic Warden

Traffic Warden (2004)

Genre: Romance

Length: 11 min

Director: Donald Rice

Producer: Clockwork Pictures

David Tennant, Sophie Hunter, David Crow

Budget: Low Indie?

Now here is a charming little short. It’s British, so automatically it gets an extra Homunculus. Traffic Warden is the story of  a British traffic cop, a weedy, hang dog looking bloke who could pass for an anemic Dr. Who and appears utterly beaten by the mundanity of his job. Actually, on closer inspection, this guy has played Dr. Who. I thought I recognized him! Oh, and he was in Goblet Of Fire as Barty Crouch, Jr. At the start of our film he is going about his job dutifully, about to give a ticket to an illegally parked car. The owner of the car has left her dinosaur-costumed son alone in the vehicle to procure some donuts. The dinosaur boy is spied by a girl of the same age dressed as a fairy. Her father gets a paper. As an interesting gimmick, the headline is a story on “The Perils Of Single Parenthood.”

In the midst of his ennui our traffic warden discovers the love of his life, albeit in a somewhat seedy, voyeuristic fashion: a woman he spies through a second story window has just broken up with her shitball boyfriend. As he is ogling her the donut obsessed mom makes a break for it and nearly runs him over. Undeterred, he keeps peeping: the girl of his dreams leaves her boyfriend in  a fit of disgust and takes with her the only thing that matters to her, her goldfish. In her haste she drops her kerchief, which is retrieved by our intrepid hero.

He pursues her, but a trollish bus attendant thwarts our hero’s efforts to unite with his love. Finally our traffic warden chases down the bus and presents the object of his desire with her lost kerchief, which just so happens to have goldfish on it. He is gasping like a landed carp at the exertion he has just been through. Hold that thought.

Here again, important bits of the intent of the film are emphasized by newspaper headlines. In this case, a man is reading a headline that states, “A Pervert Stalks Women In London,” and yet another person with a paper, “Are You A Loser Or In Love?”

Back to the carp. The bus turns abruptly and the goldfish bowl our heroine is carrying is shattered on the floor of the bus.

Oh! The horror! Our hero spies a bus advertisement for an Italian gardens that features a prominent fountain. We are treated to a lovely dissolve between the advertisement and the actual fountain.

There is a mad dash for the fountain: Our hero carrying some goldfish, our heroine carrying more. The dinosaur-costumed boy of the donut-procuring mother spies a stray goldfish and makes his own mad dash for the fountain. They are all united at the fountain. Are the goldfish saved? Does our hero find true love? Are the dinosaur  boy’s mom and the fairy girl’s father introduced to one another? Of course. It’s that kind of film.

I love this film and I hate this film all at once. It is heart warming, charming and excellently produced. There is not a single thing to pull me out of the world that has been created here. It is tight, complete and compelling. The acting is lovely, the direction is spot on, the editing is salient and useful. There are no loose ends or shaggy bits to worry about. Interestingly, there is essentially no dialog, yet I didn’t notice that until the third time I watched it. It’s quite brilliant in some respects. I’d give it four Homunculi, but for this important fact: It fits into a class of indie film that is over done and become a bit of a cliche’. The ten minute heart warming indie.

I’ve seen this done before. A hundred times. Heck, the guy who played Sam in Lord Of The Rings, what is that guys name? Sean something? Anyway, he used Lord Of The Rings resources and made an adorable little indie that can be found on the special features DVD. It’s charming and cute. I loved it. And I hated it.

Traffic Warden is a great bit of writing and a lovely little indie. It warmed my heart. I am satisfied with that. But there is also a part of me that wants more, much more.

My Douchey rating:




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