Paul McGann as Durian in The Minister of Chance
The crowdfunded series The Minister of Chance makes its cinematic premiere as a ten-minute pilot film. It follows a successful series of six episodes for audio. As noted in my writeup last year, the story concerns nations brandishing an odd mix of cavalry and rocketry at each other, vying for control of this strange world’s future.
We get the first crucial turn of events in this short, which features Paul McGann as an ambassador to Tanto, an island nation. Tanto’s king is played by Tim McInnerny, last seen by Doctor Who fans in charge of ‘The Planet of the Ood.’ Neither of these Englishmen is wasted in the space given; it’s the second time this winter McGann has shone in short form cinema, having hiked up his profile last November in ‘Night of the Doctor.’
In this visual format, the series is finally allowed to wordlessly express its appealing mix of ‘period’ and futuristic. Writer/director Dan Freeman’s visual language is also a worthy addition to the franchise; the leads are surrounded by non-speaking activity that says much about the unfolding events.
Most importantly, this begins a tale with some bite, which justifies its existence beyond its ability to get funded. I was was pleased nonetheless to see some familiar names in the grateful roll of donors that concludes the short. The release of the micropilot is slated to follow an extended ‘preview period’ of access by donation at MinisterOfChance.com.