"Care & Repair" goes for, and succeeds in, getting a huge laugh out of ya within its first thirty seconds. You have to love it when a film can do that, right? It's fair to say that the opening scene will appeal to a certain sense of humor, perhaps more than others, but this film definitely had me laughing right away. It's not all fun & games, though. In fact, "Care & Repair" will get downright serious as time goes on. You've got a trio of chaos just waiting to happen: Stevie, the responsible brother. Neil, the steadfast & reliable friend, and Stevie's brother John, who is a complete and utter, literal shit-show. Together, they've been enlisted to switch out a hot water tank, but it's not long before they're in hot water themselves. You'd think that bringing in a family member would help a job get done faster, but when it comes to having John around, Neil and Stevie probably have been better off with just the two of them.
"Care & Repair" gets a TON of things right in a very short amount of time, and it's impressive. Writer/Director Michael Cooke presents what appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill type story at first glance and manages to twist this tale into a brilliant contortion of what real hard work is all about. I'm not gonna give anything away here because "Care & Repair" is a tight under twenty minutes of runtime, but suffice it to say that our three heroes are placed in a situation - that should have been well within their control. Quite likely, it's a job that Stevie and Neil would have seen dozens if not hundreds of times before, but with the addition of John to the mix, who stumbles upon…hmm… let's say an 'item' in an old hole behind the hot water tank, this whole situation spirals out of control extremely fast. At least to a degree; lest we forget, these are professional blokes at work here, and they handle this odd scenario rather fluidly for how much this could have all gotten a whole lot worse from where it started.
Michael Cooke also plays the lead role of Stevie, and make no mistake, it's not just clever casting; he's got his real-life brother John playing the character of John as well, which explains why they practically look identical with the exception of one being bearded & the other not. Hunter Bishop plays Neil, and the very limited cast of six in total is rounded out by their boss Geo (Duncan Airlie James), a daughter (Seylan Baxter), and the homeowner (Perry Costello). You get some great scenes out of both Perry and Duncan, but to be as forthright and objective as possible, they're much more supporting characters to the leads played by Michael, John, and Hunter. This is quality work, though, no doubt about it. I love the way things are filmed in tight - I think there's uniqueness in what is shown to us and how it's shown to us, and the main twist in this plotline is really something no one could have seen coming. It'd be pretty hard not to appreciate that! Us critic-types figures have seen & heard most of what this planet has to offer, and it's refreshing to be proven wrong in that regard - whenever it can happen. I felt like the cast all-around did a fantastic job. We probably get the most time with the two brothers, but they're also the characters that are really driving this story as well, so it makes perfect sense that we get to spend an ounce or two more time with them on the inside of this short film. The writing is sound, and the setting for this story is perfect…" Care & Repair" is cohesive, plausible, and yet equally outright crazy.
This all adds up to one heck of an enjoyable experience from start to finish if you ask me. There's not much, if anything at all that I'd think they could have done any better than what we witness onscreen. I'd even go a step further and say that this is the kind of short film that folks will genuinely want to talk about and recommend the moment they see it - because they'll still be absorbing the full shock of what they experienced. Did they just see what they think they saw? Did all that really happen? Again, without giving anything away – YES IT FREAKIN' DID – and you'll be glad you had the opportunity to see it happen right in front of ya.
I feel like "Care & Repair" deserves four and a half stars because there's really nothing overlooked here. Not only does it supply a range of depth in terms of going from Comedy to Drama and back again, but I don't think we could have asked for anything more out of the writing or out of the characters. It's short, and it moves quickly for sure, but this whole film felt extremely focused and dialed right into what it wanted to do from the moment it began - straight through to the conclusion of its ending. It's as simple as a slice of life in the oddest of ways, and for as far out there as it goes, chances are there's a real-life story out there that would resemble what we see – "Care & Repair" ends up being believable when it comes right down to it, and that's no easy achievement when you consider what the plotline "really" is in this tale. Super satisfying all-around – Cooke and his crew were aces on the job & created a film that's as outrageous as it is down to earth in the strangest of ways. No complaints from me here – this was great! I might not be personally calling them to switch out my hot water tank anytime soon, but I'd certainly watch another film with these characters involved any day of the week.