8 Minutes Idle (8MI) is an unusual beast. Not only is it a feature film, funded by a film industry initiative and independently distributed, it’s regionally made, drawing attention to it’s Bristol setting onscreen, and having a mostly London crew at the helm of it. Three years in the making, the film was only just released. It took a Kickstarter campaign and a handful of match funding to bring this movie to the big screen, and then to DVD. Despite its mainstream release, this is miles away from a typical Hollywood blockbuster, with a budget firmly in the thousands, rather than the normal millions.


The premise revolves around Dan Thomas, who was enjoying his life of idle pleasures, living at home and working, but not very hard. As the child of two self-centered parents, things take a sudden bad turn for Dan when he’s kicked out of home, with all other options explored, he is forced to move into the call centre where he works, bringing with him a beloved cat and not a lot else…

From there it’s a somewhat ridiculous journey, with Dan’s living situation being joined by a range of other complications. Dan’s co-workers make up an intriguing cross-section of society, bringing a muddle of different elements to the plot. It’s incredibly charming though – I think because at it’s heart is a tale of mediocrity. Young adults having life crises of limited importance, struggling to live without their iPods, and having drunken arguments. Despite its more ridiculous moments, and occasional stoops into the predictable, there’s a well-observed core to the film, which makes it deeply watchable. Dan’s journey to survive on his own is sweet without being schmaltzy.

 …this feels more like a deliberate drawing of inspiration from the short film genre…

8MinutesIdleInevitably, given how it was made, the film has a different feel to a standard Hollywood release. However, this feels more like a deliberate drawing of inspiration from the short film genre, rather than simply bowing to budgetary constraints. While it’s not without it’s problems – there are a few moments that feel forced, and a couple of frustratingly inaccurate plot points – this doesn’t mar the film as a whole.

Interestingly, there are several hallmarks of short film production – the use of strong visual metaphor, slightly exaggerated characters, limited locations, even the shot types. 8 Minutes Idle feels more like fodder for film festivals than a big screen release but to me at least, that can only be a good thing. The majority of shorts are written to be punchy, easily relatable, and face paced. Taking those key elements and translating them into a feature length offering, makes for an easy watch, that’s entertaining and still resonates to a degree.  It also utilises it’s location to great impact, tipping a hat to Bristol on several occasions.

 …an interesting line between the feature film and short film industries…

8 Minutes Idle treads an interesting line between the feature film and short film industries, that hopefully is a sign of things to come, harnessing regional talent and creating something unusual and appealing.



Film Review: 8 Minutes Idle
74%Overall Score
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About The Author

Graduated Bristol UWE with a degree in Media Practice - since then I've been working in TV and travelling as much as possible. I'm a bookworm, I watch a lot of movies, and I have a major addiction to baking.

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