Legacy. For some it is an important concept. It is what they will leave behind after they depart. For them a part of their spirit will live on in their off spring. When talking about it in those terms you only tend to look on the positive side, emphasising the good points that you hope are passed on to the next generation. What if the legacy was the other side of the coin? Would you wish that on anyone? The short film My Father’s Son looks at that very aspect. Do the sins of the father revisit the son?
John is an ordinary guy with a great deal of responsibility on his shoulders. The shadow of his father and his anger issues looms large ever since his Dad removed himself from the family unit. John lives with is Mum and is the only wage earner while the bills mount up. He looks after his young brother who clearly adores him. He is the father figure to the youngster and John is keen to keep him on the right track by setting a good example. While out with his girlfriend he encounters some local Neds who are out for a bit of trouble. It ends badly and John ends up hospitalised. Upon his release he finds his world is turned upside down. His girlfriend has taken up with the ringleader of the gang and John who is naturally frustrated starts to lose his temper with those around him. In a rage he starts to alienate his family and goes out seeking vengeance just as his hot-headed and violent father would do.
In a run time of less than twenty minutes and shot on a budget that wouldn’t cover the cost of a decent coffee, the director James Mulholland is able to weave a complex and engaging tale. The script is tight and to the point. Every scene is there for a particular plot reason and the film makers trust us enough to tell the story without leading us by the hand through it. The direction is straightforward. That isn’t to say it is boring. The director obviously knows the strength of his material and is confident enough in his skill to let the story carry the film forward without resorting to any form of camera trickery.
There is a strong central performance from Matthew Kelly. He is featured in just about every frame of the film and in order for the film to be deemed a success he has to be convincing in the role of John. His acting has a very naturalistic feel and he is immediately engaging in his portrayal of the troubled young man. He moves quickly from passive and calm to angry quickly and convincingly. With his initially low key performance it allows the support cast to shine. Lydia Mullaney is very good as the shallow, money obsessed girl friend and Warren Mahon is creepily accurate as the gang leader.
Overall an impressive and and enjoyable short film that deals with a serious subject. Recommended.