Short film review: HARLEQUIN

Directed by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Written & produced by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Edited by Jakob Lewis Barnes, Nick Deal & Samuel James

Starring Kenton Hall, Hero Hall, Scarlet Hall & Nick Deal

Release Date: TBA



A clown performer suffering from some severe mental health issues, is on the verge of a troubled nervous breakdown when reality and fantasy in his own little world becomes blurred.

‘How do you kill a clown?’


I consider myself one of the lucky ones in saying clowns have never bothered me. Never had a phobia of these guys in their curly red wigs, heavy make-up and baggy trousers that has seemingly gained a rare reputation of instilling fear into a lot of other people these days. Always had an enjoyable time watching clowns making fools out of themselves at the circus as a kid, so no problem there. You’d think seeing Pennywise the Clown gracing the screen in Stephen King’s IT at such an early age would scar me for the rest of my life, but nope, that didn’t bother me either. With reported random clown sightings being witnessed across the globe right now, this independent short couldn’t have arrived at a more coincidental time.

At just an easy 6 minutes long, Harlequin gets stuck straight into the close-up examination of a dark psychoanalysis into the unstable mental capabilities of an amateur clown stage performer. Kenton Hall plays Charles, the mentioned clown performer, trying to cope with some serious personal issues that should really have been looked at by a psychiatrist by now. You may be familiar with Hall if you managed to catch A DOZEN SUMMERS – an independent film that he wrote, directed and starred in himself, having already done pretty well for itself in different outlets like Amazon and HMV retail stores around the UK. His two daughters also starred in that and you can see them appear here as two audience members who aren’t exactly impressed by one of his mediocre performances that ends up taking a surprisingly dark turn.

Wearing the full costume day in and day out, its like hes lost touch with his own identity of who he was as a regular normal human being outside of work when he’s not plodding along performing such a demoralising day job to scrape by. Already starting to hear voices in his own head; having a raging alcohol addiction and being trapped in his own personal solitude after locking himself away in his dressing room, really must not be helping with the on-going destructive damage of his faltering sanity. This character is the perfect example of a social outsider, he hates people and likes nothing better than to be able to disconnect himself from the rest of the world when losing himself in his Batman comics. If you thought the late great Heath Ledger went too extreme with his method acting as The Joker, think again. There’s no bringing this poor soul back to reality.


Barnes has effectively used great use of music, imagery and flashing lights to superbly demonstrate that this is a man gone completely off the radar, his mind descending further into more despair and madness, playing with his paranoia that there’s no escaping of his suicidal tendencies and other mental difficulties, losing complete sight or any memories of what he was like when he was out of all that make-up and costume.


Jakob Barnes has finally unveiled to the rest of the world this marvellous short film in all six minutes of its entirety, to which you can watch here:


Only his second film hes directed to date this year for Jump Cut Productions, Jakob Barnes has shown he has a real knack behind the camera for really impressive visual storytelling, taking us down a dark journey into the mental psyche of a lead character where you worry he’s too far gone and its now too late for him to even have a 50 per cent chance of being able to return safely back to reality. If ever working on a bigger budget than the small budget he worked on with this project, we can definitely expect great things from Barnes; hes someone who I think will go really far in life as an independent filmmaker.

RATING: ★★★★



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