A legendary music festival, a robot pop princess, and an ambitious scarecrow. What may sound like an odd pairing makes much more sense when you find out that the concept came from a scrapped Katy Perry music video. The latest short from the soon to be legendary director Kibwe Tavares pushes the phrase “modern fairy tale” to its limits.
Fresh off of their BAFTA award-winning short Home, Holliday Grainger and Jack O’Connell reunite to star in Robot & Scarecrow, a touching and whimsical look at love and loss. Grainger takes on the role of the Robot, a pop icon due to perform at the Secret Garden Party music festival. However, her life is not all roses, as she has a malfunctioning battery and is forced to perform in order to be recharged. On the other end of the spectrum, O’Connell’s Scarecrow is sick of looking on from afar and longs to join in on the festivities taking place in front of him.
After collapsing on stage, Robot faces a decision: stay working as a slave to the music, or escape into as much freedom as she can cram into her remaining twelve hours of battery life. Robot breaks free, becoming immediately intrigued by Scarecrow. She saves him after he had been torn apart in a mosh pit, after which they become inseparable. But what is Scarecrow to do when Robot’s time runs out?
Save for a few scenes with a radio voice-over by another rising star, Daniel Kaluuya, the film is free from any dialogue. This allows it to be free from what would clutter a pure and mystical romance. Instead, the emotional impact is left to translate through the faces of the heavily-CGI’d Robot and Scarecrow, which remarkably was executed beautifully.