More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Donal is an Irish doctor, pious in his religious faith and devoted to his family life. But when certain doubts arise about his wife's fidelity, he sets out to investigate his suspicions and becomes entangled in a sticky situation.

He takes refuge by hiding underneath a bed, only to find himself in an entirely new dilemma altogether -- one that brings a whole new revelation about his beloved family to light.

Writer-director Kev Cahill's witty, illuminating short comedy has the visual richness of a drama, especially with its emphasis on deep, saturated colors and murky shadows. A visual atmosphere with this weight and heaviness often portends serious dramas, particularly about oppression within a highly censorious, forbidding world.

But while religion's influence on modern mores does figure into the story's themes, the visuals form an ornate frame through which an increasing amount of characters bumble through a series of secrets and lies that slowly come to the surface, guided by a well-developed script executed with a terrific eye and ear for both the comedic mishap and the warmth of human bonds and decency.

The first signal that we're in comedic territory comes right away with the rat-a-tat rhythms and subtle stylization of the banter and dialogue, which reflects both an often mordant Irish wit and the befuddlement of its main character. The ensemble cast -- lead by actor Donncha Crowley in the lead role and a growing Noah's Ark of supporting characters whose identities would give away the story's wellspring of mystery and farce -- plays the performance demands of the storytelling well, staying true to the harmonies and buoyancy of the dialogue while playing the real emotional dilemmas of the people involved.

The emotional dilemmas faced by these characters are relatable and grounded in social realities, but as Donal navigates the new emotional landscape he finds himself in -- thanks to veritable stuffed clown car of secrets that seem to stream out, one after the other -- he finds himself up against the boundaries between social propriety, his religious faith and his love for his family.

For its compact length and compressed narrative scope, "More Than God" packs in an origami-like set of interlocking stories that unfold with ingenuity and deft craftsmanship. But the film is less interested in being clever and more invested in emotional engagement, and what happens when illusions about the people we love fall from our eyes. Donal is the center of a familial constellation, all of whom are connected both by loyalty and by secrets. But with its multiple dimensions, it's an overarching story about family interconnection, acceptance and love -- all of which forms the glue that keeps families together.

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