WhovianNet Review: CAPTCHA

May 15th, 2015
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

WhovianNet was recently invited to attend a special screening of CAPTCHA, a new indie short film starring Doctor Who’s very own Arthur Darvill. Here is our review.

“Do you believe in destiny…?”

Arthur Darvill is no stranger to weird and wonderful worlds and it’s safe to say that his exhilarating experiences aboard the TARDIS put him in good stead to take on his latest role in this new short film.

Well, we say ‘latest’. It’s actually taken 3 years for CAPTCHA to see the light of day (that’s the short film industry for you!), but fans of fantasy noir, and sci-fi in general, can rest assured that it’s definitely worth the wait.

The indie thriller stars the Rory Williams actor as Mel, an otherwise carefree character whose entire world is turned upside down – and then some – when he encounters an alluring assassin in the form of Katya, as played with copious amounts of glamorous gusto by Amy Beth Hayes (who eagle eyed Doctor Who fans will recognise as one of the Albino Servants from The Stolen Earth).

Although Darvill himself has noted that he has an ever growing track record of playing “nervous men”, his portrayal of this unassuming government scientist couldn’t be further away from his three year tenure as Rory the Roman if he tried. Or rather, if he were to be unknowingly spiked with a love implant. Which, by the way, he is.

Thus sets the precedent for a whirlwind of captivating chaos and confusion and it’s yet another endearing performance for the actor to add to his already reputable résumé. While the film itself only clocks in at 15 minutes, that’s all Arthur needs to affirm himself as his latest on screen alias and the depth of his characterisation serves to not only establish the mindset of his amicable alter ego, but the wider picture of the dystopian world in which he resides.

The cinematic scope of that world is brought to life by The Mill who have created an immersive VFX backdrop which puts you slap bang in the middle of the sentient 1940s steampunk society. The tangible London landscape is worlds away from the real thing but it’s still recognisable enough to feel disconcertingly familiar – a true testament to their hard work and efforts to bring the scale of the ambitious story to life. The spectacular soundtrack helps, too!

Written by Ed Tracey and Justin Trefgarne, CAPTCHA is an admirable advocate for short filmmaking which should encourage any aspiring creatives to pursue their own projects with the help of a talented team who are just as passionate about the final product. With an intriguing premise and an established ensemble of original characters, the film even comes with a dramatic motorbike chase sequence (it wouldn’t have been complete without one!) and it will leave you with an overriding sense that there’s still so much to explore.

Luckily, a feature-length film is in the early stages of development so it’ll be exciting to see what the future holds. In the meantime, Doctor Who fans should also keep an eye – or ear – out for the voice of Zoë Wanamaker who puppeteers the proceedings as the menacing Rosa, as well as Kayvan Novak (Handles in The Time of the Doctor). Definitely worth checking out as it sets out to explore the age old question, “Could love be used as a weapon?”. Something tells us Mel would say “yes”!

CAPTCHA is available to purchase globally on We Are Colony alongside a host of behind the scenes content including exclusive interviews and documentaries.

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