Barty Carty (2014) – By Kyle Hytonen

School Principal Barty Carty (Tim Casey) sits a small trio of prospective students down in his office. They are not here to serve their detention, although one might think this on first glance. The kids are here to try out for the school’s chess team. Principal Carty, passionate as he is about the game, regales the boys with stories about his storied past in the international chess circuit, an encounter with Kasparov, and the trials and tribulations of what it takes to become a chess master. The students, mouths agape listen in with whimsy, and a bit of confusion.

Barty Carty is a light-hearted limerick of a short from writer/director John Mcgovern. Casey is very engaging and enjoyable in his role as the loose tongued principal and the film is well shot in its confined setting. As interesting as the stories that Carty tells, there is only so much of Carty’s one sided monologue one can take in a 13 minute short. With the exception of a small set piece flashback of an ill-fated chess match against Kasparov, the entire film takes place in and around Principal Carty’s office, involving various close-ups of talking heads and reaction shots ad nausea. The film’s charm soon begins to deflate, suffering as it idles in a first act state of limbo for the entire running time.

Overall, the intentions and craftsmanship are present in the creators of Barty Carty, it is a sweet natured Irish film which obviously comes from a loving place. The execution of the film, however, left things a bit muddled as it went along, and it never really took off the ground.

You can find out more about Barty Carty by visiting the Official Facebook page for the film by going here: