Review | Phase (2020)

Review | Phase (2020)

Comedian Richard Sandling brings us Phase, a film set entirely within virtual video calls with a sci-fi edge.

For the last year or so, the world of virtually meeting people via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype has become a regular occurrence for a lot of us in both our work and personal lives.

What if someone took this Covid-19 related necessity and turned it into a full length feature film? Well, that’s exactly what director Richard Sandling has done with his independent film, Phase.

Richard not only directed this film but also produced, wrote, edited and scored this film on a budget of practically zero.

I’ve known of Richard through his comedy work and during lockdown he has been performing a live online show called Richard Sandling’s Perfect Movie. This entertaining show features chat and laughs all related in some way to films, especially Richards amusing knowledge about obscure films released only on VHS.

But after seeing Phase, I realize he is a man of many talents, but what is it all about?

Phase is described as an experimental sci-fi comedy feature film. The majority of the film is all about the main character Richard trying to relaunch his career with music and poetry. He has a big gig coming up where he will showcase his new music with his one-man band, Synthamesc, at an online goth club.

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The majority of this film will see Richard contact his friends and family and have discussions that feel very familiar to most of us. I felt that these scenes, and I’m just speculating, are very autobiographical with Richard wanting to get across many points about multiple subjects.

The telephone conversation with his parents (played by real couple Janet Prince and Stephen Frost) feels very familiar to me with their lack of knowledge about modern technology but what really hit home was the discussion on Covid-19 that I found very funny and realistic.

Richard’s parents (Janet Prince and Stephen Frost) try to tell him that Covid-19 is nothing to worry about!

The film features conversations with his friends including his girlfriend, and they aren’t all meant to be intentionally funny but are certainly relatable in these difficult times. This especially applies to his friend Katie, played by comedian Katie Prichard who manages to see the brighter side of lockdown.

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Another excellent conversation is with his friend Cass performed by comedian John Henry Falle. Cass seems to be a bit of a conspiracy nut and the way Richard can bend his thoughts with a bit of wordplay was fun to watch. This is also the start of the sci-fi element which becomes more prominent as the film continues.

There are also scenes where Richard talks to his psychologist, and you realize that several elements of the story are all starting to connect.

Richard also appears on an online interview to promote his upcoming work and I never would have believed it would end up into a conversation about a British entertainer from the past. I won’t name them, you’ll have to see for yourself.

Phase is a funny, entertaining film that feels very relatable in this current climate and I think that’s what I enjoyed the most.

Phase is available to own or rent via Vimeo.

Four out of Five

Richard’s hard work has bought us Phase, the most Covid-19 related lockdown movie possible. – 4/5


John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.