A Chatty Rock Meets a Reckless Soldier in This Gory and Delightful Fantasy Short

A soldier in an ornate mask

Filmed amid Iceland’s distinctive, beautiful yet eerie landscape and inspired by that country’s folklore, The Rock of Ages creates a vivid fantasy world in just over 15 minutes—complete with a hapless protagonist you soon realize you’re rooting against, and a pipe-smoking rock who not only talks, but swears like a sailor.

Shared by Short of the Week, this tale from writer-director Eron Sheean makes great use of its natural setting blended with clever puppetry and a pair of excellent performances: Tómas Lemarquis as the wild-eyed, fur-clad warrior, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (who’s soon to appear on season two of Severance) as the gruff voice of the rock.

Here’s Sheean’s directorial statement, including a wild mish-mash of inspirations: “The Rock of Ages is a surreal black comedy, a thought-provoking mutant love child of Jim Henson, Terry Gilliam, and Ingmar Bergman (if he were high on painkillers). It tells the story of a lost Soldier (Tómas Lemarquis) and his encounter with a cunning talking rock (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) who promises him immortality. But as always with these bargains, there’s a catch. I was inspired to create a surreal fable that explores the hubris of humankind—both our fleeting existence in the face of nature, and our unwillingness to abide by its ancient rules.”

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