HECTOR

Hector

Homelessness is a very serious problem in our society and usually discussed and viewed in grim terms. This film starring Peter Mullan, who plays the film’s eponymous protagonist, and directed by Jake Gavin however takes a lighter hearted approach as it follows the travails of Hector McAdam as he navigates his way between Glasgow, Newcastle and London.
Taking in various encounters en route to a regular Christmas break at a London based shelter whilst simultaneously seeking some sort of resolve with his family who he hasn’t had any contact with for fifteen years the feeling throughout is one of hope rather than the usual despair and negativity associated with homelessness and those who find themselves in such a situation. Opening up the idea that it can happen to anyone –in Hector’s case he lost his wife and child in a tragic car accident after a marital argument and blamed himself for their deaths this preventing him from continuing with his life as it was then- the film is awash with pathos and shows others who empathise and support those who have found themselves in these circumstances.
Mullan gives his usual solid performance and he is surrounded by a top notch cast including Stephen Tomkinson, Gina McKee , Ewan Stewart and Keith Allen. The feeling throughout is light but still acknowledges the serious problem of homelessness without ever having to drive the point home in a negative way. The encounters he has along the way provide the story with its body and some more use could be made of this in showing how Hector and those in a similar plight survive on a day to day basis. Often however these tales feel sidelined by the more obvious and less fascinating tale of his attempts at reconciling with his estranged siblings.
‘Hector’ is an amiable enough film but despite its central matter plays safe and never pushes any boundaries which make it more palatable to a wider audience. At the same time it takes the very serious issue of homelessness and treats it almost as a comedy of errors. This does not mean however that it doesn’t have its moments and some very entertaining ones combined in the strong script and clever dialogue as well as several very strong performances alongside Mullan’s to ensure that it is never dull throughout its duration.

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