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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The film Mallick keeps trying to make
Graham Scott's debut full length film is a beautiful, haunting study of relationships and loneliness. The acting is mesmerising, the use absence of music and use of natural sounds creates tension. I've often found myself travelling the remote roads in Wester Ross where this film is set wondering about the life's of those living in such solitude and it was no surprise to...
Published 13 months ago by Tav

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, psychodrama
Clearly other reviewers disagree with me, but I found this film slow and tedious. Yes, it is atmospheric and the acting is absolutely in character, but the story could have been told in half the time - much more effectively!
Published 4 months ago by Chris Jackets


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The film Mallick keeps trying to make, 5 July 2013
This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
Graham Scott's debut full length film is a beautiful, haunting study of relationships and loneliness. The acting is mesmerising, the use absence of music and use of natural sounds creates tension. I've often found myself travelling the remote roads in Wester Ross where this film is set wondering about the life's of those living in such solitude and it was no surprise to learn that this was the same experience Scott Graham had that led him to create this script. I was left with strong feelings long after watching this film, not all positive but certainly deep and real. Graham uses natural sounds, absence of script, nature and wonderful acting in a manner that Terrence Mallick strives for but all too often doesn't achieve. This film will not be everyone's taste and many will find it slow, ponderous and depressing. I found it a deep emotional experience with images that have remained with me long after watching it. I look forward to the next film from Scott Graham and the next performance from Chloe Pirrie.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mythical, cinematographic and mysteriously atmospheric...", 8 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
Scottish screenwriter and director Scott Graham`s feature film debut which he wrote, premiered in the New Directors section at the 60th San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in Scotland and is a UK production which was produced by producers David Smith and Margaret Matheson. It tells the story about a 17-year-old woman named Shell who lives with her father named Pete at a gas station in the Scottish countryside which he made years ago. Shell spends most of her days waiting for new customers and most of the time meets people who are just passing by. She has become friendly with a middle-aged man named Hugh who usually makes a stop at their place when he is on his way to see his children who lives with their mother and is sometimes visited by a man close to her age named Adam who works at a sawmill nearby and who seeks her company, but Shell`s only constant is her father whom she has grown as attached to as any daughter could to her father.

Distinctly and acutely directed by Scottish filmmaker Scott Graham, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the main character`s point of view, draws a silently reflective and consistently moving portrayal of a strangely though understandably affectionate relationship between a man whom is suffering both from illness and personal experiences and his daughter whose only communication with the outside world, which is an enigma to her, is through brief encounters with various passers-by. While notable for it`s naturalistic and prominent milieu depictions, evocative and masterful cinematography by cinematographer Yoliswa Gärtig, fine production design by production designer James Lapsley and use of sound and music, this narrative-driven story about blood ties and an increasingly isolating dependency that has kept two people inseparable, depicts two interrelated studies of character regarding two relatives who are becoming painfully aware of how chained they are to each other and how stuck they have become.

This refined, situational and authentic coming-of-age drama which is set mostly at a remote roadside petrol station in the Scottish highlands during an autumn and where a single parent and his only child whom is in the transition between adolescence and adulthood is being internally changed and differently affected by the majestic landscape which surrounds and contrasts them and is a character in itself, is impelled and reinforced by it`s fleeting narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, graceful melancholy and psychological depth, poignant conversations, discreet humour, humane characters and the perceptive acting performances by Scottish actress Chloe Pirrie, English actor Joseph Mawle, Irish actor Michael Smiley, Scottish actress Kate Dickie and Scottish actor Iain De Caestecker. A mythical, cinematographic and mysteriously atmospheric character piece about the human condition and a timeless narrative feature which is one of the finest Scottish films in recent years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, intelligent and genuinely moving, 16 Aug 2013
This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
Compelling realist drama set in an isolated petrol station in the Scottish Highlands. 17-year-old Shell (Chloe Pirrie) lives alone with her father (Joseph Mawle) at their garage, with little to occupy her other than caring for her sickly father, and serving the infrequent local customers. Despite a few amicable friendships with the locals she is virtually isolated from the outside, a young woman yet to find her place in the world and seemingly locked in a loving, but curious relationship with her father.

`Shell' is a small quiet film that is almost entirely constructed of tiny mannerisms and idle small talk, eschewing any hint of melodrama and instead summoning its power from its humanity and atmosphere. Both Shell and her father are clearly troubled, their faces plainly wrought with disquiet - the air is thick with the unspoken, and an unnerving melancholy runs through their lives and relationship. As a result this is an absolutely captivating, haunting watch laced with unpredictability. This simplicity is `Shell's real strength. Not a single word or second is wasted, every glance or movement carrying so much weight and intrigue it's impossible not to be drawn into this curious Scottish fable.

The cinematography is exceptional, and captures a sombre barren beauty in the Highland landscape with long static shots disrupted by the perpetual wind. This is counteracted with tightly framed imagery of the characters, allowing facial expressions and movements to communicate far more than dialogue. The tiny cast all deliver flawless performances. Pirrie in the title role is particularly adept, bringing the conflicted young woman to life with subtleties that hold a murky internal depth. That such a visceral unease is conjured with next to no music and an elusive narrative is astonishing and shapes the film into an experience bordering on the transient - both heavy and light at the same time. Even more impressive is the fact that this is the first feature from writer/director Scott Graham.

`Shell' is a hugely evocative little tale that is as economical as its title, possessing a haunting power that simultaneously lifts and dampens spirits. Imaginative, intelligent and genuinely moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, psychodrama, 11 Mar 2014
By 
Chris Jackets (Hellingly, East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shell (Blu-ray)
Clearly other reviewers disagree with me, but I found this film slow and tedious. Yes, it is atmospheric and the acting is absolutely in character, but the story could have been told in half the time - much more effectively!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Major new talent, 11 July 2013
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This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
Cannot praise this enough, storyline, acting and photography absolutely first class. Well worth watching, go out and buy it now !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gloomy, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
It's a very disturbing story of the life of Shell. It shakes one awake that we carry the responsibility of our children's lives and bring them on course so they can explore life at all. It's hard to say that her father's death was her ticket out of her misery but it's true. This film makes you wonder what she's doing now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars and love. With Shell's mother having ran from Shell and ..., 19 July 2014
By 
Alex (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
The DVD works as should, so I can't give much of a comment on that.

The film itself is an unusual one - taking place in the Scottish Highlands, it deals with lonliness, isolation, seperation, and love. With Shell's mother having ran from Shell and her father, the two continue to run their petrol station, occasionally getting a repeat customer. As Shell is growing up though, she is evaluating her place in the world, and being in the middle of nowhere isn't always the best place for that.

It has mildly creepy themes - a very mild level of sexual assault, death, and health issues.
It has a couple of scenes that might be innapropriate for younger viewers - Shell is scene in a bath, with her breasts on screen for a moment. There is one scene of penetrative sex, but is clothed and somewhat obscured.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly for me, 22 July 2014
This review is from: Shell (Blu-ray)
In a way this was a fascinating character study, beautifully played out by the cast all set against the wonderful backdrop of the remote Scottish Highlands. Saying that I could not find better than a 3 star for me personally, as it just probably wasn't my ideal film genre, and felt like it dragged on. However full marks for the great camera work and superb atmospheric acting. Some people will, quite rightly, love this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Electric, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Shell (Blu-ray)
Brilliant acting, simple and tense. I cest, loneliness, famillies and the beautiful mountains of Scotland. The endi g is an electric surprise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving!, 13 May 2014
By 
P. A. Tonkin (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shell [DVD] (DVD)
A wonderful & sensitive piece of film making. Beautiful photography with lots of long lingering takes of the Scottish highlands. Superb performances from Chloe Pirrie & Joseph Mawle, touching on a difficult subject. The kind of gentle, poetic & understated film making unknown to Hollywood!!
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Shell [DVD]
Shell [DVD] by Scott Graham (DVD - 2013)
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