An inebriated partygoer uses a public toilet — or a “water closet” as it’s known outside the U.S. — after a night of drinking. But he’s just a little too soused to take the time to clean up after himself properly.
But this is no ordinary water closet, and the man finds himself up against a formidable opponent in the battle over proper hygiene.
Writer-director Simeon Duncombe’s short comedy is an inventive, ingenious farce, taking full and rambunctious advantage of its compact narrative scale to create a surprisingly action-packed battle between two opponents.
The film takes place in one space, but with judicial choices of shots — and truly inventive production and set design — it creates remarkable visual and narrative dynamism. The clever traps and defenses in the film are both unexpected and yet absolutely logical, and are a mischievous delight to watch unfold. Nimble editing keeps the action humming along at a brisk but clear pace, and each beat ramps up the action, making the audience wonder just what is next for the unfortunate sloppy carouser.
There are tonal shifts in the lighting and score that may put the film into horror or suspense territory, but they’re in service to the film’s final punchline — and establish that when it comes to man vs. environment, the environment will prevail.
The film’s story may be incredibly simple on paper. Many comedies often are, and the real trick is milking the circumstances, character or — in the case of this film — setting for all its worth. In this case, the witty use of the setting offers a bravura showcase of the film’s real strengths of deep imagination and naughty but good-natured humor. “Water Closet” is a funny, fresh twist on the notion of “toilet humor” — and maybe the most brilliant PSA for cleanliness ever made.