Currently touring the festival circuit is MIKE, the most recent short film from writer/director Kent Smith. Nerd Nation Magazine was in attendance for the official world premiere as part of the 2019 Charlotte Film Festival this past September in Charlotte, NC.
Patrick G. Keenan (The Blind Side, Outcast, Department 666) stars as, you guessed it, Mike: an intellectually challenged man who spends his days working with his best friend Donald (Jonathan Bedford of Evergreen Christmas, Cracks) at his small landscaping company. After a vivid dream of his late father, who promised to one day take him to the beach, Mike decides to take matters into his own hands and sets off on a more than 200-mile journey by himself, from his home in Charlotte to the North Carolina coast. Along the way, he crosses paths with many different people, touching each of their lives in different ways, encouraging them to follow their dreams as he is.
Writer/Director Kent Smith (Homeland, Outcast, The Last Passport) does an absolutely stellar job bringing this story to life, and should be given major kudos for not only pulling off such a well-crafted dramatic film, but also for writing such an honest, innocent, and most of all, true-to-life portrayal of an intellectually-challenged man, where it would’ve been so easy to make him into a stereotype or caricature. Likewise, Keenan shows off his well-seasoned acting chops, and really brings said character to life in a very sincere and heartfelt performance, alongside a fantastic supporting cast.
With a total runtime of only 32 minutes, perhaps the only noticeable shortcomings of this film is its length, as there seems to be so much more story that could be told here, although this might well be my own personal desires being projected here. It would undoubtedly be great to see this done as a full feature-length film in the future, much as other shorts have done in the past. And honestly, if the only nit I can properly pick is a film wasn’t long enough for me, that’s a pretty good problem to have.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, MIKE is a very well-done short film that really benefits from the experience and honed skill of both its cast and crew. It’s a heartwarming and genuine journey that will undoubtedly see quite a bit of success on its festival run, as well as hopefully far beyond that. Highly recommended. -9.0/10