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Different, beautiful, silent....
I didn't watch this film with much information about it, other than the fact I think Olly Alexander is a terrific actor and was interested to see what else he had done. It's clear the director has highlighted parts of this movie that tend to be, not so much over- looked, but happily enjoyed without drawing attention to itself. The use of simple cinematography is safe but aesthetic! The lengthy shots could be seen to draw out the film creating something that is possibly slow-burning, however I think in the right mind set it is enjoyable and harmonic to the storyline. The constant reminder of their isolation and abandoned surrounding through magical establishing shots seems to pull you in rather than, typically, push you out. The deep focus is drawn to even the smallest thing that moves creating such a relaxing atmosphere that it's hard not to slightly fall into a trance with it all.
The way sound is used in this film just highlights the difference it can make. The lack of dialogue is over-looked by the fact that the sound speaks more volumes than words can. It also gives a sense or possibly raises the question of what would we say if the outside world was gone, if we didn't have subjects or worries or matters of life to concentrate on, would we fall into an abyss of silence? -- The sound seems to become more metaphorical than anything else, every sound from a bird to putting a spoon in a bowl, is louder and more prominent, the little things in life we loose due to hectic chaos and the rest of the world become more significant. What I found most effective was how the sound of the truck, when finally fixed, was loud and, to me, so over-powering that I turned down the sound only to realise that this was perfect. The fixing of the truck meant that their world would change that this would be the most important factor of what would change their relationship. But for the characters it was different, for Elias, he couldn't avoid the over- powering noise of the truck that would change things. To me I found that to be a more powerful part of the film as it pulled me in and truly made me think. Actually the main thing I loved about this film was that the silence allowed me to take in and depict what I could from what was happening and how it really made me feel.
I thought that the acting was impressive for what lines they had. I thought Catherine Steadman provided a clear sense of authority yet vulnerability, characteristics suited to each of the male characters. I thought the scene after they camped out and continued to drive to his mothers was extremely well acted as she laughed to herself and then began to cry. It took me on that short emotional journey and for the first proper time in the film I felt a complete feeling of sympathy for her.
As I said, I enjoy Olly Alexander as an actor and find his work to be easy watching and relaxed, he manages to create a character you feel is sat on the couch next to you watching the film rather than on the screen and no where else. However, I felt that the lack of dialogue in particular for him and the use of lots of low-key lighting on his face began to detract away from his ability and full potential.
Andrew Hawley isn't an actor I've come across before, and I think he pulled off the character well! I mean I don't think he and the female lead suited, they were different characters all together, but I presume that was on purpose to portray the 'you take what you get' idea. Were they in love or was there just no one else to love? However, with Hawley I found some of his lines lacked emotion and appeared abrupt, whether this was a character choice or not I don't know.
This film is a recommendation for any person into a more indie film that steers away from Hollywood traditions. the use of cinematography and simple editing portrayed the simple life they now lead. Overall, I feel it's realistic outlook effectively made me experience or think about the reality of life and the importance of relationships with people close to us. Whether I'd watch this film again is another matter but I will definitely remember it as a beautiful piece of art created with a moving intention.