A man is forbidden by higher powers from pursuing love, so he plans to end his life and finally escape his heartbreaking existence.
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Producer/s : Roxanne Holman,
Director/s : Mark J Blackman,
Writer/s : Mark J Blackman,
Actor/s : Joe Absolom, Kerry Bennett
Elias breaks up with Mary on the phone. Bastard. It seems that all they had was a phone-based relationship, but that was enough for love to bloom. She thinks he’s married. He’s not, except to his job.
Cut to him and a colleague. Khaki windcheaters, shaved heads: the uniform of gangland. Romantic involvement is against the rules. But wherever you think this tale is headed, it ain’t. Okay, one clue, wrapped in the only criticism of this film: it’s not clear that the scenes in a club are flashbacks to their earlier lives.
Kerry Bennett and Joe Absolom wonderfully express Mary and Elias failing to hide their pain, as her heart breaks and his life unravels. We understand that he must end, not just the relationship, but everything, for both their sakes.
Mood and mystery are emphasised by Stil Williams’ camerawork, with faces sliding into shot, and sensitive use of slow-mo. Neon is a post-production tour-de-force too, but all that flair is not for show, it’s to build mystery and shock. Neon blues, underworld greens and nightclub reds juxtapose with the corporate greys of Mary’s workplace. Music and soundscape disturb and haunt. Editing engages us when it dances like a ballerina, and churns us up when it jumpcuts like a punk on speed.
Well deserved the accolades, festival selections and awards since its Frightfest premiere, notably Mark Blackman’s Best Director at the 2017 London Film Awards. Why is writing so rarely recognised? Because the emotions that stay with us are founded on the solid base of Blackman’s multi-layered and brilliantly resolved script.