Archive for June 24th, 2016

MOON DOGS

Moon Dogs
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This original coming of age story directed by Philip John is actually a delight of a film. A talented and attractive young cast carry the bulk of the film but they are ably supported by an experienced supporting cast which gives the film am all round consistency lacking in a few other offerings at this year’s film festival.
Michael (Jack Parry Jones) and Thor (Christy O’Donnell) are step brothers from Shetland who despite their physical proximity share little common ground nor ,it would seem, are interested in finding any. Michael is uptight, impulsive , irritating and reactionary whilst Thor locks himself away making music and is contained and controlled.
After a series of close to home events however they both take off together on a trip to Glasgow for wildly different reasons: Michael to win back his recently departed girlfriend and Thor to try to track down the mother who abandoned him as a baby.
Their journey gets off to a bad start after gate-crashing a wedding by posing as the band hired to play. They are rescued by Caitlin(Tara Lee) who stops them from being almost lynched not once but twice but before long she is dragging them into even more serious situations of her own ,making.
By the time the three of them actually reach their destination relationships have been even further complicated by sexual tensions between the trio leading to a full on physical fight between the two step-brothers which leaves their brief attempt at unity and opening up to each other, the latter at Caitlin’s prompting and probing, at something of an impasse.
Both Parry Jones and O’Donnell bring an extra dimension to their characters (O’Donnell’s brooding, good-looking and natural film star looks also help in this respect) and although Lee is just as accomplished in her role unfortunately her character is not as defined as the two male parts and thus she often comes across as flighty and lacking in depth. The supporting cast includes Tam Dean Burn, Shauna MacDonald and Denis Lawson who also bring humour and pathos to their respective roles.
Able to shift from comedy to despair and heartbreaking melancholy without missing a beat the film is coherent and smooth.
Definitely a highlight of this year’s film festival you should get to see this film if you can.
Moon Dogs is showing at Cineworld on Fri 17th June at 20.50, Saturday 18th June at 15.40 and as Best of The Fest on Sunday 26th June at 20.25

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AWAY

Away
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Directed by David Blair this intense and grainy drama steps away from linear narrative to allow flashbacks interspersed with the present to tell the gripping tale of the meeting of two disillusioned souls, one struggling for survival the other past caring, Ria (Juno Temple) and Joseph ( Timothy Spall). Both Spall and Temple turn in excellent and troubled performances but strong support comes from Matt Ryan as the malevolent Dex, Ria’s sometime boyfriend and manipulator.
Spall lends the lonely and distraught Joseph, who has been unable to reconcile himself after his wife’s recent death, a sense of pathos. His plight becomes even more desperate as Ria takes a surprising shine to him and pursues him in a vain attempt to try to cheer him up and shake him out of his torpor.
Ria is not without her own problems however as she is involved in a deeply abusive relationship with Dex who not only controls her through violence but also manages to manipulate her close friend through drugs. Trying to escape his controlling ways Ria steals his drugs and his money as a means of escaping him but instead of this it merely sets him on a trail of vengeance and even more violence.
Her attempted escape takes her to Blackpool which is where she meets Joseph and the unlikely couple take up on a convoluted and misguided attempt to try to rescue each other with little success. In fact their union does little more than exacerbate an already bad situation.
Away is certainly a bleak film but there is an underlying sense of hope which prevails in even its darkest moments and a sense that one or both of the two central protagonists is going to survive and find some happiness or resolve in their future. Blair coaxes stellar performances from his cast and the bleakness of the Blackpool seafront in the harsh winter months contributes to the sense of desolate desperation. Despite this feeling of impending doom the film does have its occasional lighter moments and they are handled as skilfully as the dark ones.
An impressive film with outstanding performances Away is a worthwhile addition to this year’s film festival.

Away is showing at The Odeon on Wednesday 22nd June at 20.45 and on Saturday 25th at 15.20

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