Directed by Vancouver’s own Austin Andrews and Andrew Holmes, Lord Jones Is Dead is like the Office Space of print journalism.
Two journalists and a photographer wait outside a house that may or may not be where the mistress of a local politician lives. Despite one journalist and the photographer working for one paper, and the other journalist working for another, these men are friends.
Vincent (Daniel Janks), Clive (Jonathan Pienaar), and Samuel (Chad Krowchuk) provide a vivid depiction of the ennui many print journalists must experience in between major stories. Samuel, the solo journalist, considers why a woman he once fleetingly dated has graduated past him in print media, despite starting late. Vincent, a man who both believes in print journalism and understands it’s dead, entertains himself by running through the reasons for each. Most amusing of all is Clive, the photographer, a kind of Alan Rickman with a Cheshire Cat grin who’s quick to stir up a fight between the other two and then spend its duration reading on his own. His chuckling also scores most of the film, save for the very beginning and end.
Considering its limited location, lack of plot, and plethora of chewy dialogue, Lord Jones Is Dead feels more like a play than a film. As if to drive the point home, or at least show they’re aware of this, the filmmakers include a song for the cast to perform. It’s unclear whether the performance really occurs or if it’s a depiction of Clive’s daydreams. Either way, it serves as respite from the occasionally exhausting back and forth between the central characters, which stems from their habit to create conflict with one another.
The short run time and wide-open space between major turns allows the filmmakers and actors to include comic bits that, in a more fast-paced film, might be omitted. For example, a dog pads happily over to Vincent, who’s having none of it and kicks the dog away. Samuel reaches his hand out to pet the dog and the dog bolts past. This is perfect for such a small film. Little moments make up the film’s 88 minutes, and while the whole is not necessarily greater than the sum of its parts, the parts are good the way they are.