Last night I felt like a gamekeeper turned poacher, to invert the usual phrase. I was invited to a blogger review of the soon-to-be-released movie Hallam Foe. It was a very odd experience to walk into the Soho Hotel to be efficiently name-checked and handed a nice press pack and a drink and not have worry about who had or had-not turned up or deal with the demands of a nervous client and demanding journos. So here goes the review bit:
Some facts: Hallam Foe is directed and co-written by David MacKenzie and is Jamie Bell’s first starring role in a UK film since Billy Elliot. It co-stars Sophia Myles (of Thunderbirds fame) and is based on the novel by Peter Jinks.
Some context: It’s about a teenager coming to terms (eventually) with his mother’s suicide. In doing so, he takes to spying on people; initially his father and new wife and then, when he runs away to Edinburgh, a woman he meets who reminds him of his dead mother. In the course of the movie he manages to sleep with both his father’s new wife and the doppelganger, so this is not a movie without some heavy psychological overtones. And yet it’s uplifting and, at times, very funny. Much of it is shot on (literally) a dark and gothic Edinburgh skyline as our hero takes to clambering over roofs to spy on his quarry. Sort of Spiderman meets Dostoyevsky.
Verdict: Brilliant. Best movie I have seen in a long while. Totally engrossing and convincing. Sophie Myles and Jamie Bell are huge talents.
The new media bit to this tale is that David Kennedy has been writing a blog on the making of the movie. Also the director, David MacKenzie, put an early version of the script on Hugh MacLeod’s blog (they were schoolboy friends in Edinburgh apparently). The video below is his verdict on that experiment (apologies for quality, but there is a limit I guess to what you can film and record on a mobile phone). And I guess finally, a bunch of bloggers get to do their Barry Norman impressions . . . anyway, back to the day job.
Jamie Bell on being an Englishman, playing a Scotsman in Scotland surrounded by Scotsman
David MacKenzie on the ‘wisdom’ of the crowd on scripts
[tags] Hallam Foe, Gaping Void [/tags]