Brian and Charles – Sundance Review

In the Welsh valley, Brian and Charles tell the story of an inventor named Brian who lives alone in his cottage alongside his numerous inventions and contraptions. There’s an immediate charm and wit to the film as it starts with a rapid mockumentary-esque style with biting, quick humor – but there’s also a level of melancholy to the character of Brian as we see how lonely his life is how these inventions fill the void for him. However, this doesn’t last long as Brian comes across a bunch of spare parts, including a mannequin head and a used washing machine. 
With all these various scraps, Brian creates Charles – an artificially intelligent robot who immediately has an urge to learn not only about the world he is spontaneously made into but the people and places that surround him. The real heart of Brian and Charles is between, well, Brian and Charles themselves. David Earl brings a ton of heart and subdued yet practical emotion to his performance as Brian. If he didn’t fully commit to the routine, I don’t think the film would work at all. The same can also be said for Chris Hayward’s performances as Charles, who gives a hilarious routine blends in heart and nuance.
As I said, the film wouldn’t work if not for these two individual performances – but the film soars because they have fantastic chemistry with one another. A handful of moments with Brian teaching Charles about the world had me laughing hysterically. Still, it’s the moments in between where you see Charles longing to explore this newfound world of his where the film’s heart shines – especially when it’s juxtaposed with Brian terrified to live his life himself. 
The film is a small-budget feature with minimal locations and a very modest runtime of 90 minutes. However, I found the short running time and minimalist scale/style part of the charm. It hurries with jokes that almost entirely all land but nails the heartfelt moments perfectly. And for a character-based dramedy – that’s all you can ask for. 

Rating: B+

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