Top positive review
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"Mythical, cinematographic and mysteriously atmospheric..."
on 8 August 2013
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.