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Gerard O'Dwyer, Patrick Brammall, Shioli Kutsuna, Kenta Abe, Shin'ichi Chiba
Genevieve Clay-Smith
20 Mins.

 "Shakespeare in Tokyo" Set to Screen at ReelAbilities Pittsburgh 
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Just about every time I start to think I can't find a better film from Australia-based non-profit Bus Stop Films, a better film comes along. In this case, it's Shakespeare in Tokyo, a simply extraordinary short film starring Bus Stop regular Gerard O'Dwyer, an Australian actor with Down Syndrome who tackles such a diversity of roles that you dare not be tempted to think that he's simply playing variations of himself. 

Trust me, he's not.

In Shakespeare in Tokyo, Anthony (Patrick Brammall) is left as legal guardian for his brother Ben (Gerard O'Dwyer) after the death of their mother. An investment banker with a fast-paced life and little tolerance for distraction, Anthony contemplates placing Ben in a group home while Ben, well Ben has other ideas. When Anthony is forced to take Ben on a business trip to Tokyo, Ben takes advantage of Anthony's momentary distraction to escape from Anthony's over-protective clutches and experience the wonders of Tokyo for himself. 

Shakespeare in Tokyo is, indeed, a magical little film led by one of O'Dwyer's best performances to date as a Shakespeare loving young man who experiences Tokyo with a sketchpad, pencil, and the sort of disarming, embracing charm that makes him someone you can't help but love. 

Everything about Shakespeare in Tokyo is incredibly sublime, from Henry Smith's immersive lensing to an original score by Jonny Higgins that is earthy, enveloping and culturally aware. 

Patrick Brammall's turn as Anthony is appropriately distant and unaware, a familiar figure for those who've ever dealt with disability after the loss of a guardian or primary caregiver. Writer/director Genevieve Clay-Smith doesn't so much portray Anthony as a bad guy as simply being unaware until he becomes aware. 

In a supporting turn, Shioli Kutsuna is absolutely wonderful as a college student who encounters the impossibly winning Ben and whose path toward a life similar to Anthony's may have just gotten interrupted. 

One of several Bus Stop films screening at the 2019 ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival, Shakespeare in Tokyo is practically the definition of a feel good film. Beautifully produced and brought to life by Clay-Smith's cast and crew, Shakespeare in Tokyo is an absolute winner and a film not to be missed. 

For more information on Shakespeare in Tokyo, visit the film's website linked to in the credits. For more information on ReelAbilities Pittsburgh, visit the festival's official website

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  

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    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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