Movie Review: For a Few Marbles More
For a Few Marbles More (2006)–***1/2
For A Few Marbles More, a nicely crafted Dutch short film, does what so many family films ought to do; it takes a good adventure and boils it down to 11 minutes of solid, perceptive entertainment.
The film follows four 10-year-olds who are run off the playground by a couple of adult thugs. The playground was the perfect place to play marbles. No more playground means no more marbles. Their parents tell them to work it out for themselves. That is if the parents are willing or present to listen at all. So the kids do.
They make a deal with the neighborhood’s mysterious tough kid who may or may not be some sort of maniac. (Kids, ya know.) For a payment of more than twenty marbles, he devises a crude plan to get the thugs off the kids’ turf.
For a Few Marbles More has received worldwide attention, playing at over 130 film festivals around the globe. Every single festival notice is well-deserved. I was surprised, pleasantly so, at the short’s ability to acutely capture the psychology of the kids. The events that transpire in the film affect the kids in a way that sends the audience into a sort of time warp. We remember how childhood meant sometimes feeling isolated and even burdened by the home life. Yes, it can be tough to be a kid on your own.
The climax isn’t necessarily the most grounded scenario in this all together realistic narrative. But For a Few Marbles More already hooked us with the kids and their troubles. We are able to be brought down to a level of giddiness that allows us to believe what happens could happen. You can expect kids to love it too. I don’t want to give it away, but I’ll say this: it is jubilant and involves pee.
I’ve posted the trailer below from YouTube which gives you an idea of director Jelmar Hufen’s technical ability. Like many shorts, For a Few Marbles More still feels slightly experimental in its technique. The technique, however, does help the film succeed in establishing its spaghetti western motif.
Keep an eye on a festival near you. If For a Few Marbles More shows up in a shorts program, it’ll be worth the price of admission.
Visit the official For a Few Marbles More website. Hope you know Dutch.