A cold October night. Five stories. One city. Night People takes us on a journey across the city of Edinburgh, introducing a cast of characters for whom their will be no sleep. Each of them...
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A cold October night. Five stories. One city. Night People takes us on a journey across the city of Edinburgh, introducing a cast of characters for whom their will be no sleep. Each of them is faced with a dilemma that ranges from the hilarious to the heartbreaking and they have until the next morning to make a decision that will change their lives forever. Written by
Night People tries to be both a gritty account of life at the bottom of society in contemporary Edinburgh, and a heart-warming story of hope. The interaction of these two concepts ultimately felt too contrived: I needed to be better convinced that some of the characters really could break out from their stereotypes in the way the film wanted me to believe.
The film is entirely character-driven. It is centred on several disparate groups of people, who are merely living out events at the same time and in the same city. The screenplay constantly switches between their individual plots. Night People might be described as a series of short films on similar themes that have been carefully edited together. But that would be unfair. The film needs this variety to disguise the fact that each of the characters spends most of their time in the same location. Unfortunately, since the film is developing half a dozen different stories at once, I think it struggles to give individual characters enough screen-time to engage fully with the audience.
Night People has a lot going for it. Visually it is very well crafted. The film makes clever use of Edinburgh's ever-changing light and sky to create some visually stunning interludes, which give the other scenes a sense of time and place. The script is strong: Some fantastic one-liners, and the kind of small observations on the human condition that everyone can relate to. Perhaps some of the funniest lines are delivered a 'wee' bit too quickly for non-Scottish audiences to comprehend. Overall the acting is first class, in spite of the relative inexperience of most of the cast.
But in the final analysis, Night People doesn't quite hang together. It's on the verge of being a really good film, but yet it left me feeling hollow.
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