Running to their local railway stations to catch the London train, first short film in hand, are hundreds of young directors all desperate for a chance to make their debut feature. At the moment it seems as if every British high street has more directors than newsagents. Over the years I've seen several miles of short films and been hugely impressed by the standard. At the recent BBC Short Film Festival, when it came to the final selection, all the entries were superior in the extreme.
Yet, when it comes to first features, that talent is often squandered because beady-eyed script supervisors and tough producers are thin on the ground. Alexander Jovy, nominated for a short film Oscar last year, has now made a feature of mixed fortunes, though he has to be applauded for not rooting his story in either the upper-class past or gangsterland. He does in fact latch on to contemporary club-drug culture around which he wraps a murder-mystery that is a bit like "Get Carter" in reverse: instead of an obsessive southerner heading north to solve his brother's death, we have a driven Yorkshireman entering London's club scene to discover why his brother fell off a roof.
Matthew Rhys brings a suitably wilful edginess to the investigating brother, and further succeeds in looking like a suit out of water in the midst of the weird originality of clubland, represented by Jason Donovan as a drug-loving, transvestite customs officer (and DJ), and responsible for the film's small clutch of light moments. However, Jovy is so keen on giving us a snapshot of club culture (which comes across as startlingly real) that he lets go of his well-wounded plot and so the mid-section becomes a long flat stretch, punctured only by a few entertaining bits and bobs. The film's good looks just can't compensate.
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