Short Film Review: Fennel

Eerie is the word used by director, Brian Brennan, when describing the script for Fennel.

The word that comes to mind, to me, for this intriguing short is: restraint.

Off in the foggy distance someone can be seen standing on a cliff by the sea. Still from Fennel.

Fennel tells the fractured story of a woman seeking revenge after an act of violence in remote, rural Scotland.

Blood is spilled in this short film from Brennan and writer-actor Chloe Kelly, but the event that causes this spilling does not take place on screen. Fennel is the prologue and epilogue to this act—bookends to the violence. If you’re looking for a short film packed to bursting with bloody violence, then this is not for you—but if you’re after something beautifully shot and interested in raising more questions than it answers, then you’d do well to give Fennel a watch.

Kelly and Anthony Ford deliver strong, restrained performances in a short film that deals more in what isn’t said than in what is. The cinematography (Bart Schrijver) is excellent and the direction is (that word again) restrained; there’s no showboating here, just trust in the story and the performances. No need to spoon-feed the audience with definitive answers.

In a graveyard, a woman stands behind a man who is casually smoking a cigarette. She is holding a shovel with a look of angry determination on her face. Still from Fennel.

There are plenty of moments that stood out to me, but the sequence where Kelly is lighting a cigarette is one that’s stuck in my head since watching. Simple, darkly comic, and effective.


My only criticisms, if they can be counted as such, is that I want to know more about Kelly’s character. I feel there’s more to this story—to her story—and I want to see it. The other pseudo-criticism I have is that maybe with a little more time given to the film, Fennel could have bared its teeth and got under the skin a little more. I would like to see more of that eeriness creeping throughout the film.

A woman and a man are fighting in a Graveyard. The woman has the man pinned on the ground. Still from Fennel.

It has certainly made me interested in seeing what the filmmakers come up with next and I would be keen on seeing what they could do with something slightly longer form.

Fennel is currently on the festival circuit, having screen at the Spookscreen Festival in Cork and On the Pulse in Belfast.

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