Air – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 52 minutes, Director – Ben Affleck

Basketball talent scout Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) is looking for the next great player to sell a shoe on for struggling Nike, placing hundreds of thousands of dollars on Michael Jordan (Damien Delano Young)

The Nike rules often act as chapter headings throughout Ben Affleck’s latest directorial outing, Air. They’re spread across a wall in CEO Phil Knight’s (Affleck) office, where he frequently meets with talent scout Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) to disparage his ideas on how to grow the brand’s basketball division. At risk of being shut down Sonny believes that he has the answer in forming a shoe around an athlete, the next rookie player yet to do great things in the NBA. It’s 1984 and Michael Jordan (Damien Delano Young, almost always shown from the back) is just about to enter the scene, and he’s also being observed by the likes of Adidas and Converse – the two market leaders at the time.

Rule 9 opens the film stating that “it won’t be pretty”. A statement which implies we’re going to see a series of heated arguments and struggles throughout the film. Certainly, there are arguments and struggles but whether they become truly heated and intense is a different matter. There’s a traditional feel to the film as a whole as we see various conversations in various rooms about trying to secure a deal that will likely save Nike if it goes ahead. The tone and style of Air are generally rather calm and push across the feeling of low-stakes drama, perhaps not quite what’s hoped for, as the traditional stylings become increasingly felt as we move from conversation to conversation. Rule 3 encouraging “break the rules” doesn’t quite seem to be observed here. As the characters fondly remember “the old Nike days” the film calls back to those of years gone by, without itself feeling dated.

When bringing the elements together, or in this case the various characters who Sonny deals with in his struggle to bring about the career-defining move, the film is at its best. A boardroom meeting in particular acts as one of the film’s highlights as the long-built-up-to pitch finally takes place. The key characters are present, including Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother Deloris who feels very sidelined in the story, especially as such a pivotal figure, and the themes at play summarise everything that has come beforehand, and what this is all for, rather well.

Michael Jordan’s name is used frequently throughout to remind us as to just what’s at stake, alongside various careers and an entire major business/ company, yet it’s very much apparent that this is a film largely about Sonny. Damon’s character is certainly at the centre of everything with most other characters being at the side coming in to play whenever relevant or needed for him to bounce off of. This especially being the case for Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother Deloris, a key player in the negotiation and search for a shoe deal for her son yet often only really present for key moments where she can help move things along and speak for the largely unseen player.

Things move along and are generally watchable throughout, if occasionally rather slow due to not being entirely engaging. Events may suffer from the fact that this is largely a rather direct drama about a shoe, albeit an iconic one but when the elements come together to work as one in the moment that’s when the highlights of the film appear. There’s a light spark, a burst of energy, when you can tell the characters have the same in their eyes and minds, the decision to add more red to the shoe is genuinely one of the best moments in the film. Such moments may be infrequent, but they make the film and particularly add to the better second half as much of the build up of the initial conversations pays off. As a whole Air doesn’t quite go as out there as the Nike rules may hope, but it makes for a likable traditional drama.

Air is very much in the traditional vein, it tells its story well enough and makes for a likable, if occasionally lacking feature. However, while largely watchable, it does suffer from the fact that it’s largely about a, admittedly iconic, shoe.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Super Mario Bros Movie – Review

Cert – PG, Run-time – 1 hour 32 minutes, Director – Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic

After being taken from New York to the Mushroom Kingdom plumber Mario (Chris Pratt) finds himself going on a journey to save the unfamiliar universe whilst trying to find his kidnapped brother Luigi (Charlie Day).

After seeing the advert that he and his brother Luigi (Charlie Day) have forked out for to publicise their brand new plumbing business Mario (Chris Pratt) asks where the intense faux-Italian accents (they could rival Jared Leto in House Of Gucci) were a good idea. In actuality their accents are much less forced, the actors generally use their own voices. Although, Pratt often slips into something of a slight Italian-American accent, the consistency of which matches his somewhat wavering voice performance throughout the film. The idea to use the accents in the advert may have been a first idea that was run with, much like many of the events within Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros Movie.

The titular duo find themselves transported, via a giant green pipe, from Brooklyn to the unfamiliar terrain of the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom. However, while Mario finds himself meeting various mushroom-shaped people all called Toad (one in particular played by Keegan-Michael Key) and their leader Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), Luigi is taken down a darker path and is captured by Bowser (Jack Black) – looking to either destroy or take over the kingdom. It’s a race against time for Mario and Peach to assemble a team to help them stop Bowser before its too late. There’s so little time, in fact, that within sixty seconds of meeting Peach throws Mario onto a training course filled with replica obstacles and power-up blocks (largely providing mushrooms which he has a dislike for).

Throughout such scenes, and indeed the film as a whole, there’s an abundance of references from musical motifs and background dialogue to more upfront visual elements involved in the scene or sequence. It becomes apparent that there’s a lot here that’s very much for the fans. Those who love or grew up with the Mario franchise, or simply video game fans in general. For more casual viewers, who may themselves identify a number of the references, things may very well feel overstuffed with these nods, particularly as they’re surrounded by a set of events which feel rather familiar and somewhat placed in a set of first ideas largely wanting to use elements from as many different games as possible.

The Mario Kart sequence/s which looked so fun in the trailer aren’t explored much further, simply using a couple of ideas and then moving on to the next stage of the relatively short narrative (perhaps one of the reasons the film remains generally watchable is the short run-time). You wish for such moments to simply be that bit more fleshed out, have a bit more fun with the sequence and involve you more by spending a bit more time in the moment instead of using it as a device to get from one place to another. Multiple sequences feel this way throughout the film, again; more for those going for the fact it’s a Mario movie and the links to the games, and while there might not be anything too troubling and you can still sit and watch things pan out you don’t always properly engage with the action and at times border on frustration.

As a whole things feel rather basic, and never quite aware or referential in terms of the references and general nature of the film – directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic had previously co-written the excellent Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, while Minions: The Rise Of Gru co-writer Matthew Fogel takes on a sole screenplay credit here. The various details are generally just there, sometimes playing into the scene or being a major part of it and sometimes not. It comes down to the recurring point of consistency within the film. Yes, plenty of elements work well enough and make for a perfectly fine, if basic, watch but there’s a lot at play that wavers and never quite settles down. Maybe not as much as Pratt’s accent but if certain ideas were played with a bit more and developed then there would perhaps be a slightly improved quality to the film as it would feel less crammed with points and work perhaps more for a wider audience.

For fans of the franchise, and indeed younger audiences, the abundance of references and sequences may appeal, however to a more general audience frustrations begin to appear as The Super Mario Bros Movie presents a handful of inconsistencies in its rush to tell a story made up of what feel like first ideas.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Tetris – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 57 minutes, Director – Jon S. Baird

Struggling businessman Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) believes that his fortunes may be turned if he’s able to gain the rights to bring a new Soviet video game called Tetris to the world.

Some form of Tetris-related film has been in the works for a number of years now. For some reason or another the blockbusters based on the iconic video game have never quite made it to the screen, however the story of how the game was brought to the world has arrived in the form of, well, Tetris. Following businessman Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) attempting to get the rights to the game, against a number of major figures including billionaire Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam) and son Kevin (Anthony Boyle), from Soviet officials.

The film may begin with ten minutes detailing a brief history of Tetris, however once properly caught up with how the game came to be it’s not long until Henk makes it to the USSR to make the business deal of a lifetime. “I played Tetris for five minutes, I still see falling blocks in my dreams” he tells his bank manager (Rick Yune) at the start of the film when asking for a loan. Rogers has been struggling with money after the failure of his video game version of board game Go, but he truly believes that Tetris will be the next big thing. He may state his passion a handful of times in these opening stages, however once we reach Moscow things fade to focus on the new, cold environment. The detail is very much on the tight-lipped Soviets who hold the rights to the game and the eventual battle for the various unclear rights to the distribute the game in various forms around the world.

Yet, the style and tone which comes into play, which admittedly has a layer of tension in some instances, gradually fades as it becomes clear that this is a film about video game rights. There may be engagement in the drama, helped by Egerton’s lead performance, but it’s not always anything you can be completely caught up in. It often feels as if the location is being used as something to lift up and push the drama rather than acting as the backdrop and occasional context for mild tension. Therefore when reaching the second hour there’s a feeling that the film starts to somewhat lost itself as the narrative takes a bigger step in front of the style, with a lot more back and forth and crossed wires for each key player in the game; much of which is backed by multiple variations of the Tetris theme, also dying down in the second half.

Things remain generally watchable, however there’s not overly anything gripping about the film. An unexpected car chase, which feels tonally different to everything which comes before it, strikes a strange yet effective chord but as a whole the film moves along with enough to keep you in place for two hours and gets out just before you properly feel the run-time. There are plenty of likable elements about it, including Egerton’s aforementioned performance, and as a whole the film keeps its head above water, but it never quite manages to make for the truly tense drama that it seems to want to be.

Occasionally allowing its location to lead over its narrative Tetris is a watchable drama helped by the lead performance of Taron Egerton, however it eventually boils down to the fact that its a film about video game rights. Fine but not always thrilling.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dungeons And Dragons: Honour Among Thieves – Review

Cert – 12, Run-time – 2 hours 14 minutes, Directors – John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

After escaping from prison Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) hatch a plan to steal the riches which only just escaped them, and to rescue Edgin’s daughter (Chloe Coleman)

You can often tell when the writers and directors of Dungeons And Dragons: Honour Among Thieves are having the most fun. It’s when they get to play with the various monsters, creatures and magical elements of the world in which the actions play out. The most entertaining scenes are those largely playing with these ideas, and stepping aside from the central ‘plan’ as the central group of adventurers run through mazes and across hanging bridges to escape whatever’s trying to kill them.

There are various backdrops where such elements are used as we see the ensemble changing plans as they go in order to steal treasure which was taken to them just before they could claim it. Leader Edgin (Chris Pine) has spent two years in prison with fellow thief Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) and is determined to see his daughter (Chloe Coleman) again, currently in the care of former crewmate Folge (Hugh Grant – who appears to not be taking the film seriously throughout almost all of his screen-time) who has been promoted from conman to lord. However, after being kicked out of the city they must hatch a plan to break back in and steal back what’s theirs, however darker forces may be at play.

As the narrative meets new characters in various locations, including Sophia Lillis’ shapeshifting tiefling Doric and a somewhat wavering turn from Justice Smith as fumbling sorcerer Simon, the style very much seems to be ‘we need to see this person to go to this place to get this item to do this thing’. While not a huge detraction it does bring in feelings of cliché. This lingers in the styling of a handful of scenes throughout the journey and does remove something from them due to the familiarity. It’s another reason why the flow of the third act contains some of the strongest stuff in the film in terms of the entertainment factor. There’s a more direct nature to the way things move along as the ‘journey’ element is moved away from, with much more in-the-moment points instead of sticking to the ‘plan’.

During such moments, and when properly striking the fantasy-adventure chord and having fun with the creatures and elements of the Dungeons And Dragons world, the film is at its best. The cast appear to understand the light tone, helping to bring one or two chuckles into play along the way, even if not every one of them lands, and help to push the enjoyable nature of the film, even during some of the more cliché-washed sequences. As a whole there’s an enjoyable nature to the film, particularly the third act which stands out as the highlight thanks to the action which it displays.

There’s a fair deal of cliché within Dungeons And Dragons: Honour Among Thieves’ narrative style, however when it breaks away from this and focuses on what the world has to offer there’s an enjoyable quality to the action and fantasy on display.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Tessa Williams ‘Forbidden Worlds Film Festival’ 2023 Interview

Lead programmer of Forbidden Worlds Film Festival Tessa Williams joins me to discuss this year’s festival, being held from 18th-21st May in Bristol. During the conversation we cover topics such as the importance of genre festivals, collaborating with local businesses and, of course, what’s showing as part of this year’s festival.

To find out more about this year’s Forbidden Worlds Film Festival, and buy passes and tickets, you can do so via their website. You can find more from Tessa via her Twitter.

If you want to listen to Tessa’s song requests you can hear them by following the links below:
Theme From New York. New York – Frank Sinatra
Life On Mars? – David Bowie
I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper – Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip

The Night Of The 12th – Review

Release Date – 31st March 2023, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 54 minutes, Director – Dominik Moll

A group of detectives encounter multiple dead ends in the search for a culprit of the murder of a young woman.

The opening text and voiceover of The Night Of The 12th lets us know that 20% of murders in France are never sold, and that this is one of those stories. To some extent this is the early faltering of the film as it’s admitted at the very beginning that there isn’t a conclusion to the central case. Much of the first half is taken up with newly-promoted police captain Yohan (Bastien Bouillon) and his fellow detective Marceau (Bouli Lanners), alongside the rest of the department, questioning various suspects and figures with relationships to the murdered Clara (Lula Cotton-Frapier). They go from ex-boyfriend to ex-boyfriend, each with their own different views on how they were actually involved with the deceased, and repeatedly back to her best friend (Pauline Serieys) trying to work out who was the person to burn her to death late at night.

Knowing that the case goes unsolved removes something from these various strands, which almost feel back-to-back for much of the first half of the slow-burn narrative. Instead of creating interest it creates more thought as to where the film is actually going, is it just going to be scenes in different rooms and homes asking about how people knew Clara? It certainly seems as if it is. While certain other character dramas come into play – Marceau is going through a divorce after his wife had an affair – they never quite feel fully slotted into the surrounding narrative, and occasionally feel as if they come from nowhere.

Points are made about gender balance in the police, including how predominantly men will investigate crimes done by predominantly other men, yet these comments are simply made and don’t actually seem to go anywhere despite some promise during one or two scenes. They’re largely brought up as we begin to get more developments in the case, at least outside of questioning. As more action is taken the cycle is broken as there’s a bit more to find interest in and be engaged in. What has come beforehand has been generally watchable, if repetitive, but there feels to be more going on in the second half, especially in regards to the investigation which takes up much of the films concerns, while still keeping the slow-burn nature.

Things may still be disturbed due to the fact that you know there’s no conclusion to the case but it tries to push things forward with character drama for the central characters. It comes very late in the day and doesn’t quite get the progression it may need, but it does help to make it about more than just the case. It shows in scenes long after the case is first opened where Bouillon’s captain is clearly struggling to see why he should keep it open, despite the otherwise statements of a judge (Anouk Grinberg). There’s something in Yohan’s growing frustrations which help to push the progression and developments of the case, they might not be given a full light very often, but they certainly help when present. Particularly when moving on from the repetitive nature of the earlier stages, and the fact we know there’s no conclusion to the largely-focused-on case from the very start.

While a generally watchable slow burn The Night Of The 12th makes a mistake in telling us the central case is never solved from the very start, character dramas are brought in but never quite given enough focus to become prominent, even with more developments in the second half.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Infinity Pool – Review

Cert – 18, Run-time – 1 hour 58 minutes, Director – Brandon Cronenberg

Whilst on holiday in a luxury resort couple James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) discover a dark world of crime and identity on the island after leaving the safety of the resort.

There’s no denying that an opening line such as “did you just say you can’t feed yourself with white sand brain death?” is going to grab your attention. It’s a strong lead into the world of Infinity Pool – soon accompanied by shots of the central island resort where it seems as if the world is rotating rather than the camera. Central couple James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) are well aware of the rules about not leaving the safety of the resort. However, after being convinced by another couple, Gabi (Mia Goth) and Alban (Jalil Lespert), to venture to other reaches of the fictional La Tolqa trouble quickly follows after James hits a local man in a car accident.

As the married couple, primarily James, begin to discover the workings of the prison system in the area things shift tone from horror to thriller. Yet, despite this style the rising high-pitched score indicating a new scene or idea still indicates a more direct horror. For much the film when it is playing out the horror is more restrained, or about the course that Skarsgård’s character is taking rather than the more up front gore which pops up very prominently every now and then.

As the world the resort is isolated from is shown to be darker and darker it soon makes its way into the confines of the luxury holiday. Soon Gabi and Alban’s friends who have all had similar experiences come into the mix and start to show an almost cult-like nature to their group. In comes both a more frequent trippy style to proceedings and a feeling that at the end of each scene you can almost see the narrative trying to figure out where to go next. While in general the film is watchable and moves along fairly fine there are a couple of bumps along the way because of this.

Perhaps most of all when reaching the final 20-25 minutes where the film truly feels as if it loses itself. The actions that we see on screen appear to just happen with no real context as to ‘why’ to bring in more of a shade of horror. Instead it just seems as if decisions and subjections are made just because. It removes something from what has come before as you start to wonder what the real point behind it all has been. Further pushing the need for a tighter, stronger narrative so that the final stages have more substance and drive to them instead of an almost confusing state of uncertainty where the suspense and horror lack.

While for the most part it’s fine Infinity Pool often feels as if its finding its way as it goes along with each new point and idea, eventually reaching a point where it feels context is lacking as to why stuff is happening or being done in the first place.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

80 For Brady – Review

Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 38 minutes, Director – Kyle Marvin

After 16 years of having watched from home, inspired by their love for Tom Brady, four aging best friends (Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Sally Field) decide to go to the Super Bowl, and make the most of the experience.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons 80 For Brady works is because of how much you buy into the central friendship at the heart of it. In fact, it’s not really something you need to buy into, you simply need to observe it for a short while to clearly see that the cast clearly enjoy being with each other and had fun making this film. It adds to the entertainment factor of the ‘inspired by true events’ narrative. Yes, it may deviate a lot from reality but it’s never really something you stop to think about as you simply get caught in the spur-of-the-moment sequences.

After 16 years of having watched from one of their homes best friends Lou (Lily Tomlin), Trish (Jane Fonda), Maura (Rita Moreno) and Betty (Sally Field) all decide to escape for a few days to the Super Bowl, to finally see their favourite player, Tom Brady (himself – also co-producer of the film), in person. Once arriving in Houston, Texas there’s no time to stop, the ensemble finds themselves making the most of the NFL experience and bumping into a number of famous faces along the way.

Yes, things could easily step into eye-roll territory but it helps that the film clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has a sense of fun and allows for the energy and relationship of the cast to speak for itself. The laughs come with ease and there’s something of an unexpected quality to a number of the chuckles and the frequency of them. Again, much of this stems from the infectiously good time the cast are having, alongside the fact that in general the events are kept fairly simplistic without feeling repetitive.

It’s even possible to put aside some of the more dramatic elements – largely one involving a potential return of cancer for Tomlin’s Lou which when the sole focus stands out amongst the tone of the surrounding ideas – as things never truly slip away from the central theme. When simply allowing the characters to have a good time that’s when things are at their best. When creating good humour through their personalities and how they interact differently with the likes of convention attendees and wealthy partygoers, managing to avoid jokes which purely lean into the idea of ‘these people are old’. Another of the things that stops things from feeling tired is the fact that while there are some jokes about aging they’re embraced and a natural part of the characters and their conversations.

In general, thanks to the central friendship of both the cast and characters there’s a lot to like about 80 For Brady. An enjoyably amusing piece of entertainment with enough laughs within the simple scenarios to keep things moving along for most of the run-time. While the final few minutes might feel a bit drawn out with the focus shifting to the American football action there’s still a handful of chuckles to help things move along. It’s a very enjoyable time led by four highly entertaining actors.

80 For Brady has plenty of laughs throughout its run-time, but perhaps its greatest element is the relationship between the central characters who, like the cast, are clearly having a great time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

John Wick: Chapter 4 – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 49 minutes, Director – Chad Stahelski

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) discovers that he can have the bounty removed from his head if he wins in a duel against the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) of the High Table, however it’s a long road to get there filled with many people trying to stop him.

Over the last nine years John Wick has undeniably had more than the living daylights kicked out of him. However, if this is the case then he’s shot, kicked, beaten, stabbed, run over and pencil-ed the life out of anyone who gets in his way. It shows in Keanu Reeves’ performance in this fourth instalment. Despite still having the power and fury to continue fighting within him the world has made Wick’s goal seem almost impossible. Wanting to live his life in peace he first needs to have his excommunicado status removed. The way to do this? Challenging the Marquis de Gramont of the High Table (Bill Skarsgård) to a duel, and winning. However, there’s a long road to get there.

Faces new and old block the clearly tired and worn out Wick’s path to his goal – sometimes in the first hour it feels as if we don’t see him for good stretches of time. Every location houses a new antagonist rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of claiming the increasing price on the head of one of the most stylish characters to grace action cinema. Each one also supplying a new backdrop with plenty of items, and obstacle, to heighten the action. There’s a somewhat surprising almost three hour run-time to this film and much of it houses a number of extensive action sequences. Many of which flow not just because of the editing but how much is happening in one moment.

The key to the action sequences is often that they’re made up of smaller sequences which connect and flow into each other. Allowing for more ideas and styles to be played with, and preventing one idea from being drawn out for too long. All further heightened by the detail put into the world that this franchise has created as a whole (largely when wound into the plot rather than taking the fore in the somewhat slow build up). There’s plenty of entertainment value to be found in this underworld of assassins and the various rules by which it plays by, a number of which push the narrative along; used best when the film displays that it clearly knows when to take a breather. There’s a chance the film could begin to fall into a plot which jumps from place to place to place and back simply to have more happening, or just to add to the run-time, however here that feeling is avoided simply down to the punchiness of such points and the ways in which they lead to further thrilling action.

There’s a video game-like nature to certain narrative elements, further fuelled by a number of close-up fights when Wick and those around him are dealing with multiple attackers at once. The swiftness and decisions of such tones are infused for a bigger push for the action. Adding to the tension which is already present from the fact that it’s clear that Wick is showing signs that he’s wearing thin. He may be desperate to escape this life, and the knowledge that about twenty someones are always around the corner waiting for him with sharpened knives and loaded pistols, but its going to be difficult. It shows in the body count and extensive nature of the first prominent set of fights. One which early on settles you in (as much as you can into something such as this) to the style and course that this fourth entry into this franchise offers.

With plenty going on at all times it’s easy to be thrilled and engaged in the extensive action sequences. There’s plenty on screen that can simply be described as ‘cool’, particularly bringing a smile to your face as the details are played into and expand the ever-fascinating world in which these events play out. There may be a gradual re-entry into it, but once there there’s plenty to enjoy within the expectedly finely structured and choreographed action of the film. Deeply enjoyable this largely shows off the best elements of the franchise with great effect.

The action sequences are filled with plenty of styles and elements to allow for the extensive nature of them to be pulled off. However, John Wick: Chapter 4 knows when to take a breather and still bring tension to the moment through the detail of the criminal underworld. Wick may seem tired here but he still leads with plenty of thrillingly engaging fire.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rye Lane – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 22 minutes, Director – Raine Allen-Miller

Twenty-somethings Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) help each other embrace moving on from their respective recently broken up relationships over the course of one day in the streets of South London.

There’s a strong sense of the 90s indie scene within director Raine Allen-Miller’s feature directorial debut Rye Lane. The natural dialogue of Clerks meets the free-roaming scenery and relationship of Before Sunrise in modern day London. As we see twenty-something strangers Yas (Vivian Oparah) and Dom (David Jonsson) roaming around South London there’s a fine sense of place. A clear feeling that the pair know the area well yet are aimlessly wandering and exploring as they go.

Fantasy and flashbacks leak into the real world – not just in terms of a box of popcorn travelling from memory into a scene of conversation – with great effect. It heightens the relationship between the two strangers as they open up over the course of a day about their recently broken-up relationships – the reason for their meeting being Yas having overheard Dom crying in the toilets at a friend’s art exhibition. In general there’s an interesting nature to Allen-Miller’s directorial style which engages you with the characters and the world of the film, alongside giving the film itself a distinct personality. Not just in terms of the way the scenery looks and is captured but also what’s happening in it. There’s so much happening in one moment alongside the main course of the narrative and conversation, even if just hints of details in the background further impacting the events and emphasising the bustling nature of the setting.

Jonsson and Oparah are excellent as the two leads. Bursting with energy and chemistry they bring Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia’s dialogue to life and add to the distinct freewheeling style of the film. It’s easy to get caught up within the connected roaming from place to place as the pair recover from their relationships whilst also trying to reclaim items from them – for Yas it’s a vinyl copy of one of her favourite albums. The fast-flowing nature of the events further caught in the short 82 minute run-time which manages to effectively build-up the relationship, engage you in it and take you and the central figures to so many places without feeling overstuffed. Instead charting a natural course of progression through the developments and conversations.

From that first proper click where the laughs start rolling in this consistently hilarious ride there’s an energy fuelled by a love for what’s on display. A care and passion for the locations and culture that we see throughout. Allen-Miller understands just how to allow this to further fuel the events and embeds each scene into those facts making for something of a celebration throughout the film, particularly during a number of particularly joyous scenes; whether through humour or the upbeat energy on display. There’s a lot to love about Rye Lane. Capturing the creativity and natural dialogue of plenty of 90s indie gems while very much embedding itself in the 21st century.

Early on, when sat opposite Dom’s ex (Karene Peter) and best friend (Benjamin Sarpong-Broni) – now very happily in their own official relationship – Yas appears at the restaurant to help Dom out. When telling a fake story about how the pair met at karaoke they start to chant their names, beginning to match each other’s rhythm. “Dom and Yas, Yas and Dom. Dom and Yas, Yas and Dom”. It’s early in the film, but you really want to join in.

Fuelled with natural dialogue and performances there’s a lot to love about Rye Lane’s celebration of its location and culture. Consistently hilarious and overflowing with creativity giving the film its own distinct style and personality, hopefully one to become a future British classic.

Rating: 5 out of 5.