The three part series from Liverpool Student Film – the universities film making society – written, directed and starring Robert Corcoran as ‘J’ contains episodes revolving around the themes: sex, drugs and social media. Each episode portrays the dramatic scenes contrasting with the making of those scenes. This is quite an interesting concept, a mockumentary woven into a drama series, an ambitious and unusual take on teen lives regarding various and somewhat controversial subject matter.

The first episode is ‘sex’, starting off dramatically then switching to an edgier comedy tone, setting out the platform for the rest of the series.

The highlight for me was the scene regarding what seems like social anxiety “everyone seems out to get me” playing in the background reinforcing the isolation of the character. The eerie high pitched sound and lonely appearance of the women in the shot creates a feeling of empathy contrasting to the creepy nature of the man. The previous scenes and the difficulty in opening the door portray that she is not in a fit state for sex. A risky scene to perform and done well.

Another enjoyable moment was the proposition of an orgy by Corcoran, with the awkwardness excelling well, and used to good effect here as it is taken to a level where it becomes funny, whereas other scenes such as his dancing on stage I feel are a miss.

A few scenes felt a little overacted too, the fighting scene and the section with the sex education being a particularly poor one, with the individuals being far too stupid for a realistic narrative.

The problems aside it is definitely an enjoyable episode with one of the best dramatic scenes in the series.

7/10

The second episode is ‘drugs’, following a similar vein to ‘sex’ with a dramatic start to a more light hearted one.

This episode I feel works better then the first, Corcoran’s character is better in this one, his creepy qualities and appearance in this episode is one that I feel suits him better. A number of close up direct address shots such as the poem make you feel very uncomfortable and helps create a captivating character.

The dramatic scenes involving the sex/fighting scene with the female, was uneasy to witness as the drugs showed off their negative effects.

The ending is particularly intense, possibly the best scene in the series, with the questioning of whom was involved in the events and the twisted portrayal of certain individuals which, albeit with some slight blood effects problems, worked really well.

This episode suffers with similar problems to the first one with the comedy not really hitting the mark for me, however I don’t know if it was intentional or not but the use of a library card to snort coke was pretty funny.

In summary this is probably the best episode of the series, with the dramatic scenes being done excellently and the entertaining slams against The Tab, which were very funny and on behalf of the Sphinx I had to enjoy, in spite of a few comedy scenes which were a miss.

8/10

The final episode is ‘social media’ however the opening seems more like the opening to the series, introducing a lot of the production crew which seems a strange choice.

This episode links the series together. I appreciated that aspect in trying to challenge the viewer, into questioning certain aspects of events in the show and personally. However it may be just me but I did not really understand what it all meant, but perhaps that was the intention.

In addition the episode involved what seemed to be someone wanting to murder an individual for what seemed like very little rationale.

The highlight for this episode however was the ending compilation of the previous episode split screened with dramatic music and what the series seemed to be leading to, a powerful emotional climax. Furthermore the cinematography and use of editing to compile shots including the night shots in Liverpool were exquisite and really showed off the city.

The very final scene however was a little downbeat with Corcoran spouting his philosophy and proclaiming that “everything is shit” albeit his character seems to be happy in that fact.

Overall this episode has the least clear theme with social media being used throughout but without any real consequence or meaning, however the compilation was great and fantastic aesthetically.

6/10

Filming the series

Filming the series

Overall the series is definitely good, especially as the team worked throughout the year and produced an hours worth of watch-able content is impressive to say the least. The dramatic scenes work well, and some are very aesthetically appealing and, if just they were shown, may have made for a better series albeit a more generic one. The humorous aspects of the show I feel work less well and Corcoran’s zainy comedy generally did not do it for me however, saying that, a few scenes were definitely funny such as the orgy scene. The proclamation that ‘everything is shit’ is not true here, the series is an unusual comedy drama with a lot of ambition which is appreciated and mostly done well – worth a watch!

To find out more about the series from Rob Corcoran himself, check out this interview here

Overall Rating: 7/10