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3.5 out of 5 stars15
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 March 2011
Rarely does a film generate a feeling for me of actually being involved in it's setting as it plays. The camera shots almost emulate the same infrastructural things my eyes would normally gaze or stare at as I go about my outdoor life. The characters are also all people I've virtually met before.

It's just real man, and to capture that on film well is just beautiful. The feeling of being a fly on the wall of these familiar conversations or awkward situations that you know you've been in before is just so erm... 'interesting'!!

The best thing about owning this product, is re-watching it. The convenience of experiencing the story by simply re-watching a plastic DVD, is one of the reasons I love life. I think as time passes I will enjoy it even more and nostalgia will deepen for the symbolic takes of environment it presents in 2000.

This isn't a movie, it's film and should be appreciated as an art piece to be experienced like Janet Cardiff's work for instance. I think you'll get the most from this if you have ever been a student in London. The Low Down [DVD] [2000]
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on 24 August 2001
OK, cards on the table time. You're either going to love this desperately, feel protective towards it, and sing its praises with evangelical zeal at every opportunity, or be profoundly unmoved.
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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 April 2014
This 2000 feature debut by British writer-director Jamie Thraves has a good deal to commend it, but ultimately did not quite fully engage with this viewer. Thraves has since gone on to make the (for me) vastly superior Treacle Jnr. which again stars Aiden Gillan in another 'modern urban tale', but one which has stronger elements of both drama and comedy. With The Low Down, Thraves has produced more of an 'ensemble piece', (undoubtedly) low-budget and low-key, telling the meandering story of a group of 20/30-something friends in London, at the core of which is Gillan's insecure and mixed-up 'TV prop artist', Frank, and his burgeoning relationship with Kate Ashfield's (equally confused) estate agent, Ruby.

Thraves certainly cannot be criticised for a lack of realism. If anything, Low Down is actually too realistic in the way Frank and Ruby's relationship is portrayed - full of unspoken emotions and confused reactions. But, given the lack of a strong narrative, and some superficial character development elsewhere, the subtlety in Gillen and Ashfield's turns here (the latter being particularly good) only serves to weaken viewer engagement. In general, the acting elsewhere is at least solid, with Frank's co-workers, Dean Lennox Kelly's 'resident comedian', Mike, and Tobias Menzie's waster, John, (between which two characters Thraves skilfully develops an increasingly fractious relationship) both engaging, whilst another friend, Rupert Procter's Terry (a man with a dark past) delivers a subtle, naturalistic performance.

Visually, the film is always interesting, with some nice framing shots and lingering close-ups from cinematographer Igor Jadue-Lillo (particularly of Mike & Co.'s colourful props - giant hand and 'clown' face) - albeit he rather overdoes the hand-held camera at times (whizzing between his subjects). Thraves also includes some rare moments of more direct emotional drama - such as Frank and John's visceral encounter with a drunken yob in the pub (serving to reinforce the pair's retiring insecurity) and that between Frank and a 'girl beggar' (offering sex) - and, indeed, the film could have done with more of this. Had Thraves 'beefed up' this content and had a more memorable ending it would probably have pushed up my rating by another star. Having said all this, Thraves is certainly a film-maker worth keeping tabs on.

As an aside, Thraves' film is another whose '18' certification confused me - surely some swearing and brief full-frontal (male) nudity doesn't warrant such a draconian restriction?
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on 14 March 2013
I bought it after watching Trecle Jr on TV (which I loved) because I was curious to find out more about this director. I think that because I liked so much Trecle Jr I had quite high expectation for this film too. I couldn't however quite get into the story in the same way.
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on 3 November 2007
There are some films that disprove the theory about plot being integral; Withnail and I, Lost in Translation, Waking Life to name but a few, and The Low Down is another great example of this.

There's no need for me to describe this film - you can read the synopsis for that. The performances are great and are, essentially, all that matters. Aiden Gillen is wonderful in the lead role, capturing the slight awkwardness, hints of OCD and insecurity of his character brilliantly. But the best performace in this film comes from Kate Ashfield who plays the dreamy Ruby. Be warned, though, if you're as sloppy a male as I am, you will fall head-over-heels in love with this character. I cannot begin to dscribe how utterly scrumptious she is in this film.
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on 3 October 2003
This is a suprisingly affecting, and understatedly powerful portrayal of growing up. Its a about the need for answers, finding our way and some role in life, as we begin to explore ourselves making the transition from young adulthood to the next unknown. Personally, to me, its about finding our place in the world and being contented with that. The film doesn't provide any answers though, just a breathtakingly poignant, some might say pointless examination into that stage in our lives. The film is stylistically directed. Certainly there are similarities to the work of the 50-60s by the french new wave of Truffaut, Godard and co, in its simple yet effective (and seemingly) improvised use of creative camera technique i.e. freeze frame, slo mo etc. The performances (apparently improvised - well some of it) are absolutley astonishing in their realism. All the characters have an amazing rapport and chemistry with each other - you really do believe they have been friends for a lifetime. Thraves is marvellous but no more so than the other cast. So realistic are they, that no doubt you will have met similar individuals at some point in your life.
A mini masterpiece of a debut from a promising director.
The DVD is adequate with a few mini features and so forth.
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on 4 January 2012
After I read the other reviews of this film that passionately defended it, I thought I'd bagged a gem. Perhaps it's because I watched 'Persona' several days before, but this film made no great shakes. Yes, I've been there and met the people. I've seen 'that' life and I got that the eye-level camera work described character dis-interestedness or an act of looking etc. The problem is the characters are dull and I never believed their friendships or relationships. I just sat back watching something puzzling being played out waiting for something to make me care either way. Trying to put my finger on it, I think their lack of anything to say for themselves, to connect with each other or themselves really blows the engagement of the audience. People are not as dull and are more colourful than this. Still, it's not all awful - the impression of their lives in London rings true even if the outlines haven't been filled in. Perhaps that was the deal - to not allow the fiction to overwhelm the experience you bring to it. Unfortunately, it means you are underwhelmed by what it has to bring to you.
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on 13 July 2013
Like another reviewer said, this is more of an observation of a situation in life than a film.

To me this was very reminiscent of a Mike Leigh film, which were often studies of characters and people than films with a clear beginning, middle and an end.

Overall this was quite an enjoyable piece of British film, but one that requires an understanding of the type of film you're about to watch. My Dad for example, who is into Hollywood productions, will hate this film - I don't, it's very well observed.
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on 6 June 2015
I prefer to watch paint drying. Even the producer thought this was boring. He watched the film and said 'to sell this we need either bare breasts or two men naked in the shower' - he choose the two men in the shower.
If you want entertainment scrubbing the kitchen floor far out-weighs this.
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on 28 April 2016
Not much happens but Aidan Gillen looks super pretty even if he is a bit emo in this. Not as good as Treacle jr by same director but it's decent if you are a Aiden Gillen fan
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