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STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits
Dave (Jamie Foreman) is a homeless junkie who is standing having a conversation with some blokes when his friend Tommy (Ronnie McCann) comes racing round the corner and tells him his girlfriend Sharon (Patsy Palmer) has just gone into labour. Dave tries to cope with this as best he can, but he's really more concerned with scoring his next fix. So after dropping his girlfriend at the hospital, he dashes out with Tommy to swipe some goods he can sell to dealers for some gear. Juxtaposed with this story is a sub-plot about a taxi driver who wants to feel loved in his life-and is going a pretty seedy, pathetic way about getting it!
I was fiddling around with my Football Factory DVD the other day and went through the extras and noticed Nick Love's short film (his debut project, in fact) Love Story. What could this be?, I wondered, and gave it a look.
I'm sure the title was a little in-joke to the writer and director's surname, but I'm sure it was more to do with the actual tale of the taxi driver's quest for love (and maybe Dave's love for Sharon???) But I guess the only person you could ever ask to know what it actually was is Love himself.
Anyway, as I said, this is an impressive short film, motivated by the excellent, raw performances. In the lead role, Foreman convincingly portrays the sort of hard-core, messy junkie that must lurk in many of the dark corners of the slums and alleys in London. So too does Palmer as the co-star, also very true and someone you could really buy as being in that situation. As for the other story, I don't know the name of the actor who plays the cabbie, but his is also a disturbingly real presence. He truly comes off as a low-life and a pathetic man, seeking the services of junkie prostitutes in filthy, run-down public lavotories and getting a kick out of trying to degrade them even more and talking to them like sh!t, but at the same time you are able to feel his loneliness and isolation as just one of thousands of separate, un-communicating people in the big, big city. Ewen Bremner is surprisingly wasted in a minor supporting role, but Paul Nichols is strangely memorable and impressive as a wannabe hardman-gangsta dealer.
Not all of Love's work I've considered to be really brilliant, but his films do have a distinguishable quality to them and he is one of our most promising rising directors and this was quite an impressive foundation on which to plant the building blocks. ****
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