12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A really interesting discovery and film.,
This review is from: Cal [DVD] (DVD)
Caught this at a chance screening in London (Riverside Studios) - it was a blisteringly hot evening and yet there was a dedicated and impressive audience sacrificing a drink on the terrace to watch this film.
And what an interesting and well executed film it is. Although a standalone film comparisons were drawn with the director's first film SHANK (which I also loved but for different reasons and this film is leagues more polished and mature in it's film making and execution) - the eponymous hero from that CAL is the central character in this film and the story unfolds yet again in Bristol after Cal returns from his travels and after receiving word that his mother is ill in hospital. Bristol is in the grip of rioting unemployed youth, civil protest against government cuts. In a good samaritan moment Csl rescues rent boy Jason from the clutches of his thug pimp. This creates a nightmare for the boys who are attracted to each other but Cal wants more - he wants love and this develops and helps reconciles a son with his mother by way of dramas and situations that are centred in real life events that propel us and the two leads through the story.
It is not exaggeration to say that from the first shot you are drawn into this film. It is a film with an intensity that wraps itself around the narrative's integrity with accomplishment that startles at times at how well conceived and thought out it is.
I don't want to plot the film out too much as I do think you should watch it. Every element strains to be perfect and in most instances it achieves this or falls short by a negligible margin - almost unnoticeable if truth be known to me.
The cast are note perfect and a veritable ensemble of talent - all pedigree thesps some with big movies to their credits, the music is wonderful with songs that ease you into a world with brilliance and take you out at the end on a song that resonates with pertinent lyricism. The cinematography challenges you to fault the digital format in all it's glorious HD lit and shot with a cinematically filmic quality - the inspirational choice of a blue tone conveying the coldness of the season and the world in which our characters live is clever and well considered - the aspect ratio a welcome treat and a non pretentious perfectly correct 2:35 (I'm impressing myself that I remember the cinematographer explaining this during the Q&A afterwards!). The editing is subtle, controlled and elegant in it's desire to hold on shots. A surprisingly rich 5.1 sound design played with you - microwave oven bleeps bridging a edit from a rotten damp kitchen to a miserable street scene outside of an unemployment office for example - subtle but effective leaving you in one scene whilst snapping you into another with an irritating bleep.
The subject matter is potentially bleak to some but the well placed scenes of humour punch through and unseat your expectation as the film takes another turn or enters the next act. Clever placed set ups and pays off pleasingly satisfy the journey - especially in a film with austere dialogue - other than when Auntie Jane goes into a stream of verbal alcohol induced nonsense - or drug dealing Polish pimp Ivan decides to preach in fables to our two love torn heroes. I really liked this film - it is social realism at it's best and rarely captured in films these days. The director who also wrote and produced the film has pulled off a film that deserves a wider release than the odd cinema outing or dvd release - it is a film which captures real events that encapsulate the pain of the world economic crisis that crashed in and impacted all of us. The inclusion of real footage from a riot in Bristol brings an edge to proceedings (in particular in the final act and set piece scene) that will anger you and be identifiable to you as something real - almost convincing you that you are watching a real story rather than a well scripted drama. The locations and production design are excellently selected and dressed - you can almost feel the cold in the damp kitchen of Cal's house or the uncomfortableness of the single bed he ends up sharing with Jason...oh the skull graffiti that was in SHANK appears ever present in this film - transferred onto the bedroom wall behind the bed in Cal's bedroom...nice touch.
A very strong 5 star recommendation from this viewer...just hoping there's extras on the dvd because I want to see more!