Short Film Review: The Last Brunch – 8.5/10

‘Sometimes you don’t realise how thirsty you are until it’s right in front of you…’

Writer-director Jim Cummings first came to my attention when I stumbled across his debut feature Thunder Road. Daring, funny and innovative, Cummings’ first film marked him out as a unique voice in independent cinema, a position that was only cemented following the release of The Wolf of Snow Hollow and The Beta Test, both of which I also loved. As with many independent filmmakers, Cummings started out making short films (Thunder Road began as a short) and he has returned to the medium at this year’s South by Southwest Festival with his latest project The Last Brunch

We open in a boujee restaurant with Kara (Taylor Misiak) explaining to her work buddy Ashley (Julia Bales) and her boyfriend Jameson (Dustin Hahn – who also serves as co-writer) that the fourth guest Bridge (Bridge Stuart) is a little sensitive about his inability to finish his latest art project and that it shouldn’t be mentioned. Things begin innocently enough before it becomes clear that Jameson and Bridge are perhaps unsuited for a brunch date.

As with all of his work, Cummings imbues The Last Brunch with an irresistible mixture of dark humour, subtle horror and Lynchian surrealism. It’s a heady combination and the fact that his latest effort both made me laugh and induced a mild feeling of panic and anxiety is a testament to Cummings’ ability to provoke a reaction. At the end of the 11-minute run time an emotional exhaustion had set in that was delightfully offset by the chef’s kiss of a final shot. Magnificent.

The Last Brunch incorporates everything from AI to affirmation to toxic online discourse but it does so with the lightest of touches and always with wit and imagination. I loved it.

Watch the film on YouTube here: