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By midlandsmovies, Mar 12 2020 10:08AM

Midlands Review of Bodybuilders and Rule Book from Five Pence Productions


Directed by Nisaro Karim


Five Pence Productions’ latest short film is directed by and starring Midlands Movies Awards 2019 best supporting actor Nisaro Karim. Alongside Karim is Joe Egan, a respected ex-boxer who’s acting experience includes parts in both of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes adaptations.

Bodybuilders follows Karim’s character and his intimidating yet encouraging personal trainer, Big Jon (Joe Egan), on their journey to the gym. Big Jon controls the conversation with Karim only mumbling one word responses. It becomes clear why this is later in the short.

Many of the laughs in this short come from Karim’s character’s minimal dialogue, replaced with his amusing visual acting and Big Jon’s obliviousness to the fact that his trainee doesn’t even speak English. The vulgar woman in the classic old lady crossing the road slowly sequence is also a humorous highlight.

I would have appreciated a slightly more distinguished narrative as the short does seem to rely on Joe Egan’s dependable, but typical, tough guy persona, rather than the barely there story. There is unfortunately not enough that actually happens in the film to impress me. However, it is comical to see such a larger than life personality in such a confined and restricting space.

Despite this Bodybuilders is an easy to watch, reasonably entertaining short film. It’s respectable acting and amusing jokes make it a worthy addition to Five Pence Productions and Nisaro Karim’s ever reliable filmography

Rule Book

Directed by Gurjant Singh


Rule Book is directed by Gurjant Singh and is headed by West Midlands based production company Five Pence Productions.

The simple yet effective plot focuses around Nisaro Karim’s character’s inner battle between his culture and his heart. The conflict lies in his finding of what he deems love with a woman older than him, who has a child of her own. His relationship with her would unfortunately be looked down upon by many in his culture.

Karim’s pained monologue to his friend (Debora Rodrigues) comes across as very heartfelt and convincing, inviting you to resonate with his anguish. He speaks about his relationship with this woman, how they match each other perfectly, yet his fear of his families opinion has restricted him from exploring this to any deeper level. She has shown him vulnerability yet he feels he can’t yet reciprocate this.

The intertwining shots of the conversation between friends and of his blossoming relationship are beautifully framed and seamlessly edited. Despite its short runtime, the film does a commendable job of conveying the potential for these two characters to find love with each other. The narrative and characters engrossed me so much that I was left disappointed by the unresolved ending.

Rule Book is a notable and earnest story of forbidden love.

It feels like a very personable story and touches on a conflict that I’m sure many have experienced. The tagline “Not everyone loves in the traditional way” provides a just sentiment that hopefully audiences will carry with them after seeing this thoughtful short film.

Jake Evans

Twitter @Jake_Evans1609

By midlandsmovies, Sep 9 2019 07:19AM

Midlands Review - Jallianwalla Bagh 1919 and Peaky Blinders A New Era

This week we take a look at a double-release of films from new West Midlands film production companies Gurjant Singh Films and Five Pence Productions, which delve into two very distinct historical stories from the past.

First up is Jallianwalla Bagh 1919 directed by Gurjant Singh which is a 1-minute micro short which pays tribute to those massacred by the East India Trading Company in 1919. Given its short length it’s a welcome surprise to see the film mostly shot in slow motion. This extends the visual experience as we see gentle flowing clothes in the wind giving off an air of peace and tranquillity. This is juxtaposed with a screaming military sergeant (Richard Teasdale) and a cut to a primed rifle barrel. A voiceover from the protagonist (Nisaro Karim) provides some context given the film’s extremely brief runtime which was a good use of technique to give the audience background information. The pull of a trigger and the splattering of blood also gives us a brief glimpse of violence. The focus on just one person rather than a group (nearly 2,000 were shot in the struggle for independence) brings home the personal nature of this story to the filmmaker.

The second film is Peaky Blinders: A New Era. Most Midlanders will no doubt by familiar with the BBC TV series crime drama which is primarily set in Birmingham. It follows the exploits of the Shelby family after World War I and the fictional group is loosely based on the real 19th century urban gang who were active in the city from the 1890s.To honour the release of Season 5 in Sept 2019, this fan-film was shot in just 4 hours and set closer to the present in 1950.

This time period allows the short to (briefly) open up a conversation about a time where immigration was a cause for concern for locals leading to tensions running high. The short opens with Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child infamous guitar riff which although is an impactful sound, is simply the wrong song given that it’s associated with the end of the 60s rather than the period aimed for.

The film’s visuals work much better though as we see a gang of suitably attired “peaky blinders” in a pub drinking before they leave and come across an Indian man (Nisrao Karim again) squaring up for a fight before it cuts to a bloody outcome and a promise of more revenge.

In summary, both shorts are technically proficient and tease insights into very different worlds of the past. Their short run-time though merely acts as brief advertisements for longer narratives. Definitely with an air of professionalism throughout, despite my pet-peeve of music choice, they both act as intriguing calling cards for stories I’d like to see more of.

Michael Sales

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