Summer Comedy: Brian and Charles
In this dry season, I looked to some dry UK humor to accompany my dry martini. In director Jim Archer’s brilliant Brian and Charles, wit and heart are the essential ingredients as small-town Welsh citizen Brian (David Earl) is all beard and glasses inventing useless objects like an egg-carrying belt and a flying cuckoo clock, which he launches from a bicycle with disastrous results.
Brian’s my kind of eccentric, a quirky introvert lucky to find a lady, Hazel (Louise Brealey), an equally introverted heart who loves Brian for the reasons others find him weird.
With nothing better to do, he creates robot Charles, seven feet of rubber head and box chest and the sarcastic inquisitiveness of a teen waiting for the chance to escape and see the world. Being led around town virtually on a leash, Charles is ready to bolt while retaining a loving attitude toward his maker.
It's a bit of Frankenstein mixed with Iron Giant, peppered with R2-D2 love and C-3PO attitude. The glasses give him a smart impression and the blue eye a sinister suggestion. But he, too, is
all heart. As in any summer comedy worth anything, conflict finds its place in the town bully, Eddie (Jamie Michie), attacking meek Brian and his creation.
What happens is not so much a surprise as it is a satisfying resolution fitting a sleepy town enfolded in white clouds, grey days, and simplicity. Murren Tullett’s crisp cinematography will convince you to book a flight to Wales, and Daniel Pemberto’s energetic electronic score will make you forget Danny Elfman’s musical genius but remind you of Pemberto’s Spider-Verse compositions.
Daniel and Charles has a soothing, loving humanity to take you out of Top Gun, Jurassic World, and Thor and give you a walking stick to explore little UK towns that contain lo-fi conflict enough for multiverses. One of the best movies of the year and arguably the best so far this summer.
Brian and Charles
Director: Jim Archer
Screenplay: David Earl, Chris Hayward
Cast: David Earl (Cemetery Junction), Chris Hayward (SOS: Save Our Skins)
Run Time: 1h 30m
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts NPR’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics as well as podcasts Back Talk and Double Take out of WCBE 90.5 FM. Contact him at JohnDeSando52@gmail.com