Review: Swiped

Debut film from writer, director and producer Steve Whiteley, this comedy short follows three young entrepreneurs as they build their business to fight against the battle of anti-socialism that smart phones have begun…by swiping them from people as they ride past them on a moped. Starring: Wesley Bozonga, Selom Awadzi, Jen Wakefield, Michelle Fahrenheim, Matt Garrill, and Anjela Lauren Smith.

The film opens as if you’re about to watch an episode of Crimewatch, detailing the nation-wide problem of smart phone theft by moped riding criminals, which sets things up perfectly when it suddenly pivots into comedy. It’s a nice upturn of the usual image of young people in 2020, they’re not obsessed with their phones, they’re dedicated to stopping people from turning into tech zombies, while the rest of their teen image remains intact. There’s a brief feeling that it could cross the line, going from harmless parody to offensive to victims of this particular type of theft but it remains safe and keeps to the comedy thankfully.

We’re very, very slowly getting into a period of time where young, diverse British talent are breaking their way into the limelight and we’re starting to get a refreshing change to the industry and while we may be talking about a short film here and not a blockbuster, these young actors are a perfect example of why we need to strive for more. Their performances are a breath of fresh air, it’s current and modern but has a classic British sense of humour, akin to Attack the Block or Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, full of irony and sarcasm. Bozonga, Awadzi and Wakefield are the sort of young actors that would be great to see in TV or film, they give their characters strong personality and hit the comedy right on the note, with perfect timing.

The film holds a lot of potential, the directing and writing by Whiteley is solid, it makes the point while being extremely enjoyable. A good balance of parody while actually having something to say because the irony is blinding of their business idea feeling ridiculous but it is simultaneously utterly ridiculous how obsessed we all are with our phones. This trio would be one that would make a great series to follow what they did next and if they expanded their empire of positive theft or simply got arrested because it’s not the most legal of adventures.

Swiped ticks the boxes, it’s funny, it’s got a great cast and the story is relevant and pokes fun at our society while making a valid point about our technological obsession. It’s a really fun way to spend 9-minutes and you’ll probably wish that there was more.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯

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