Short films have great difficulty entering the awareness of the public. I learnt of The Voorman Problem from a segment on BBC Breakfast this morning, and it was only covered because not only was it Oscar-nominated, it also stars Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander.
If you wish to remain free of spoilers, let me just say, you should absolutely pay money to download and watch it, it is excellent. It’ll cost you less than the price of a cup of coffee. Come back when you’re done.
So, The Voorman problem is a short film by Mark Gill and Baldwin Li about a prisoner (Tom Hollander), who claims to be a god. In this modern, alternate England in a time of war, the prison’s governor calls for a psychologist (Martin Freeman) to determine whether the man worshipped by the fellow prisoners is actually insane.
Tom Hollander massively steals the show as Voorman, wonderfully balanced by Freeman. This perfectly paced short is wonderful to watch, evocative in its ideas and well shot. I’d have loved to know how much it cost to shoot, though apparently Hollander did this one for free, such was his faith in the script.
At first I wasn’t sure about the alternate world, one with computers and reality television, but with an aesthetic and talk of a ‘war in the east’ that suggests a WW1 mindset. But the more I think about it, the more it works. After all, how else to fit in the disappearance of [censored]?