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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Peter Dukes

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

'Sweet Madness' is a short film dedicated to the madness of one of DC comics most loveable nut jobs. For those that don't know, Harley Quinn is the lovestruck child to the Joker and here is captured in all of her beauty by Peter Dukes, writer and director of a number of shorts that have garnered him a reputation as one of the horror genre's great visionaries.

Madeleine Wade’s portrayal of Harley is nothing short of mesmerising. Her grace and demeanour are effortlessly taken from page to screen and Margot Robbie has a lot to live up to. As with the likes of Phil Joanou’s continuation of the Punisher in ‘Dirty Laundry’ and the post modern Power Rangers short that have exploded the internet, ‘Sweet Madness’ is a short that shows a passion for its subject that many Hollywood blockbusters seem to omit.

Peter Dukes knows his source material and has a flawless cast to bring to life one of DC comics most famed yet underused characters. The unnerving balance between innocence and insanity is captured to perfection and Wade’s beauty is a match made in heaven for the character. Her love for “Mr. J” isn’t absent either as the drive to free the infamous villain from prison is the core to the hostage situation opened up at the beginning of the film. Micah Fitzgerald shows an uncanny resemblance to the master of the Joker, Nicholson himself and while his appearance never lives up to the expectation, his voice and mannerisms capture the essence of the 1989 film’s central villain.

As with Duke’s other works, it’s themes may be set in the comic book universe that has taken over Hollywood but this holds a much more sinister tone that embodies the two characters and one that may never see it’s way on a cinema screen.

Kudo’s to this short film for bringing a fan favourite some justice and hopefully there’s room to develop this into something bigger as it would be a shame to keep Quinn locked in the pages of this 11 minute short.

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