Short Film: Second to None

Anyone who has a sibling has felt a bit of rivalry at some point in their life. Growing up in my older sister’s shadow, I certainly spent a big portion of my early childhood plotting her demise. However, I never took it quite as far as Frederick, the bitterly jealous twin in Vincent Gallagher’s deadly funny Second to None. With deliciously dark humour and intricate set designs, revealing new, ingenious touches with every watch, this seven-minute stop-motion is a gift that keeps on giving, delighting audiences young, old and everyone in between.

When Herman becomes the world’s oldest man, his younger brother Frederick (born just a minute later), makes it his life’s mission to steal the title by any means necessary. What follows is a meticulously crafted sequence of hilarious gags, reminiscent of the beloved Loony Toons series, and just as thrilling and surprising. Think Sylvester and Tweety, but brought to life through the magic of stop-motion. Oh, and much bloodier.

“It got me thinking about this possible age old, or rather, old age rivalry”

“I was looking to explore themes of drive and ambition when I read about Jiroemon Kimura becoming the world’s oldest living man”, Gallagher shared with S/W, as we discuss why he chose this particular story. “His predecessor only held the title for 13 days, so it got me thinking about this possible age-old, or rather, old age rivalry. It’s a film that catches you off guard, it seems quite charming and sweet on the surface, but it gets pretty dark pretty quickly, and I think that’s where a lot of the humour comes from.”

Indeed, as a big fan of dark humour, I found Second to None utterly captivating. From the very first scene, where you learn so much about what drives Herman’s relentless hatred towards his brother, to the last line of the credits, it’s clear that the short has been created with love and painstaking attention to detail. Stop-motion is an extremely time-consuming process, making the already impressive animation a real gem worthy of closer inspection. I strongly encourage a second, even a third watch, because there is so much to love here.

Gallagher is currently working on a new animated short called Available Light and a live-action feature in development with Screen Ireland, for Treasure Entertainment. Stay tooned for more info! Sorry…


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