In Mr. Madden (Hardy, 2014) Mr. Madden, upon leaving his house receives a phone call from his boss regarding his, Mr. Madden’s, recent figures and not hitting his target. He is told by his boss that if he doesn’t hit is by his next review they will have to get rid of him. As his boss says, “Failure is unacceptable”. Mr. Madden notices what seems to be a plane flying by just as the phone call ends.
Mr. Madden hits all the right notes in what constitutes Art Film Realism. When Mr. Madden leaves his house, the viewer is set to believe he lives in a normal neighborhood. Mr. Madden does not live far from work for the audience witnesses him walking to work while on the phone to his boss. What seems to be a parking garage is seen as Mr. Madden walks by and a high-rise building is also in view, which the viewer can agree is Mr. Madden’s place of employment. The viewer can agree but is it clear that’s the truth?
Once Mr. Madden enters the floor where he works, straight cuts of a broken computer and burn paper is shown with the name Tony on it. Mr. Madden stares at it for a bit before moving to his desk. This is where the viewer is left to ponder why is there a broken computer yet Mr. Madden’s work area is intact?
The beginning and middle provide enough information for the audience to come to their own conclusions about things, such as the fore mention of his house and the high rise building the audience are shown in the beginning. But the ending definitely fulfills the ‘lack of clear answers’ and absolutely leaves no resolution for the audience. The ending is open for interpretation and will make the viewer rethink everything they have seen, and more importantly, heard from Mr. Madden’s boss.
But what added more to the film than the many clear things the audience is shown and heard that quickly turn abstract at the end is the music played once Mr. Madden sits at this desk: Gymnopedies No. 1 by Erik Satie. When you watch the film, listen to the song closely. Although it may seem like a simple piece of music, it’s rather complicated.
Mr. Madden, runtime 5 minutes, Directed by Floyd Hardy. The country of origin is South Wales.