Martin McDonagh’s first film Six Shooter (2004) contains the trademark blend of wry observation and absurd wit that marks his recent release Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), which swept five BAFTA awards at the ceremony held on Sunday.
Existential dilemmas and mental disturbances are snugly woven together with dark humour in the Oscar Award-winning short film. Donnelly (Brendan Gleeson) is broken when he is informed of his wife’s death. On a train ride soon after, he runs into a foul-mouthed and possibly psychotic young man (Rúaidhrí Conroy) who is offending his co-passengers with his abrasive manner. Donelly indulges the man, but things spiral out of control, indicating that the world is a very small place after all.
While Gleeson is appropriately woebegone as the widower, Conroy is particularly effective as the disturbed young man who speaks of Sigmund Freud, God and exploding cows with equal conviction. Six Shooters can be viewed on Film 4’s YouTube channel.