What Did Jack Do? (2020). Directed by David Lynch. Starring Jack Cruz and David Lynch.
Things are about as Lynchian as they can get in this 17-minute-long short film which packs in more laughs and quotable dialogue in its paltry run time than you would find in most studio birthed “comedies”.
Taking inspiration from The Muppets, Lynch has conjured up an edgy film noir version of The Great Gonzo’s love for his chicken fatale Camilla as a capuchin monkey is interrogated by his chain-smoking cop in a railway café straight out of The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari.
Harnessing smoky noir stylings and 1920’s German expressionist set design helps in the creation of a world which feels just a half-step to the side, completed by the odd staccato rhythm of the utterly absurd yet strangely compelling and wryly amusing tete a tete between man and fugitive monkey. Think the café scene in Heat but with more laughs.
In naming his antagonist Jack Cruz, Lynch seems to be creating a pun on renowned French novelist Emile Zola’s famous open letter dissecting the judicial errors and inherent anti-semitism involved in the Dreyfus affair in 1890’s Paris.
This hybrid of serious insights into the darker side of the human condition and the utterly absurdist humour of the two-hander discussion is typical of the director who has always blended the nightmarish with the ridiculous and explored the extremes of human behaviour and feeling.
This work isn’t going to win you round if you don’t get his particular style but if you are already a fan or are willing to enter a very strange, abominably funny world for the length of a coffee break then you are in for an absolute treat.