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Gillen and Ashfield are terrific, but so are the supporting cast--particularly Dean Lennox Kelly and Tobias Menzies as friends Mike and John. The Low Down is a thoroughly absorbing film, its emotional edginess highlighted by the hand-held camera and by the freeze-framing to distort time. The effect is quirky and inviting rather than annoyingly arty, and Thraves is clearly one to watch.
On the DVD: The Low Down on disc has a featurette with just under eight minutes of excerpts. There's a commentary on the film, plus a brief sample of fly-on-the-wall footage in "On Location". Don't get overexcited about the promise of Cast and Crew Interviews, though, since they are very soundbitey and not very profound (for example, Jamie Thraves on making his first feature film: "I've felt more relaxed than I've ever done"). And of course there's the usual theatrical trailer. --Harriet Smith
The difference, I suspect, is one of identification with the characters' semi-slacker existence and the nuances of twentysomething friendships.
Aidan Gillen, best known as Stuart from Queer As Folk, stars as Frank, a props maker approaching a crossroads in his life. He has all but outgrown his student-flavoured life with its squalid accommodation, juvenile jokes, and dysfunctional mates but has yet to admit the fact to himself.
Director Jamie Thraves opts for a naturalistic, new wave style, and the dialogue is largely improvised. Thanks to his universally excellent young cast, the gamble pays off handsomely.
There is precious little in the way of plot but, then again, The Low Down isn't about the telling of a story - it's a wonderfully observed, achingly bittersweet requiem for young adulthood.
A mini masterpiece of a debut from a promising director.
The DVD is adequate with a few mini features and so forth.