Saturday, 7 August 2010
A 90 minute film of two guys talking in a bird watching hide may not be the sort of thing most people would be attracted to but there was enough happening in this taught drama to keep me interested.
We open with the gay dad off ‘The In-Betweeners’ arriving at the titular structure ready for a hard day’s twitching. He’s seen all but one of Britain’s native species of birds and the conditions are ripe for him to tick off the last on his list. We know he’s a bit obsessive compulsive by the way he arranges his note books and equipment but at least he remembered to bring lots of sandwiches.
He’s barely eyed up his first bird when his solitude is ruined by someone at the door. We’re bound to be a bit worried as the new guy has tattoos and a bottle of wine - and there’s not much left! The conversations starts somewhat muted as the two men try to figure the other out. The older man, Roy, is by the book and very ‘old school’. He doesn’t care for the younger man, Dave’s, analogies featuring ‘nun’s bums’ and is clearly worried for his safety. He does have a friend at the other end of a walkie-talkie but sadly it’s one of those devices governed by the movie convention that it can only work intermittently and give out garbled half messages capable of being misunderstood.
Dave seems a lit of a loose cannon who’s capable of flying off the handle like so many lapwings. We really start to worry when we see that he has a gun and that a police helicopter is searching the area. But wait! Could we have gotten it wrong and the police’s target is someone other than the wine guzzling, tattooed miscreant? Better have another sandwich and mull it over…
I caught this film late night on ‘Film 4’ having never previously heard of it. It engaged me from the off and despite not enjoying ‘talking heads’ films I stayed to the end, enjoying every turn.
The two leads are both excellent as they’d really have to be for you to buy into the film. It has its origins as a stage play and it’s easy to see that in the single set production and cast of two. I liked the stiff and uptight Roy who was slowly dismantled as the film progresses. From his aloof and superior openings he was eventually reduced to talking about his ex-wife and his plans for her and her lover. Dave on the other hand had the opposite arc, starting out wild and random and ending up a bit sensitive and sympathetic.
The twists were well thought through and logical given the progression of events. There is one genuine ‘eeurgh’ moment amidst a lot of fast talking and deconstruction. You could argue that the central plot and eventual wrong foot are telegraphed from the start, and although I accept that, it was infinitely better than having a third character showing up in the last five minutes to turn things around.
It may be low budget but the crackling script and two excellent performances mean that ‘The Hide’ shouldn’t stay hidden on your movie radar
The (Spoiler) TAG Line : We Put Body & Soul Into Our Sandwiches! 70%