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Written by: Michael Borgen / Darren Doyle |   Directed by: The Nuevo Bros |  Genre: Dark Comedy

 Joe is a canner. A homeless man who survives by collecting and recycling discarded cans and plastic bottles. He spends his days riding around collecting; helping make the city a cleaner place. He’s not alone, and if there’s one thing that’s as sure as the sun rising it’s this. Canners are competitive and everyone in the ‘business’ needs these little pieces of aluminum and plastic gold to eat. Do you think the life of a homeless man is without care? Think again.  Joe’s biggest rival is Cowboy. Riding around on his long handle barred bike and collecting like there’s no tomorrow. He knows all the spots and all the tricks, and never wastes an opportunity to rub it in Joe’s face. The rivalry of the two men is akin to David and Goliath but in Canners, it’s all set up more like an old western film, complete with grunting conversations and really bad teeth.

  But this isn’t just a film about rivalry and western styled showdowns, it also has a magical element, in the form of a garbage can that produces an unlimited amount of recycling for whoever finds it. When Joe stumbles upon this treasure he’s in heaven. Finally, his life has changed. As Joe moves up in the world, Cowboy gets wind that something isn’t quite right and after following Joe, discovers his secret. It’s here, in this final act, that things get dark and the battle for the magical can begins… and ends in a way not quite in step with the rest of this short film. To say that Canners is a dark comedy seems to work, all the way until it doesn’t… it’s at this point Canners steps into horror/slasher territory. Normally, the change of tone would be highly suspect but for whatever reason, in this film, it works like a charm. I was more than happy with the ending, much more than I probably should have been.

   Seeing all the ways a “canner” possibly goes about their day was one of my favorite parts of the film, as was the comedy in showing. The scene with the spoons actually made me laugh out loud. As a matter of fact? The entire western movie vibe, and funny voices of some of the characters really set a light hearted tone to what would otherwise not be considered a laughing matter. Canners doesn’t go out of its way to make fun of homeless people, rather it uses this unfortunate situation as a storytelling tool. The characters are over the top, so as not to outright offend. It is pretty funny, especially because you know this is supposed to be funny, with no harm intended.  The change in atmosphere comes when Joe finds the magical can and honestly, I kind of wish this plot point was brought up much earlier in the film. It seems like as soon as things get interesting, and Joe finds the can, the movie is near over. It would have been cool to explore this ‘magical’ aspect longer. That’s not much of a complaint though, because Canners before the magic is still pretty funny.

  The final act where things really change may not appeal to some. It gets pretty brutal but personally, I loved the change of scenery. It was like the film From Dusk ’till Dawn, when it switches over to a vampire movie. I thought it was a great way to go out and on a subconscious level, maybe a great way to really show us what the homeless life is really like. Not fun or funny at all. I don’t think this was an intentional message, but one I thought of none the less. I can say this though, as a whole film, Canners was excellent. Fresh, funny, and done well. Four stars and thank you for reading.

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