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British Film Review: ‘Junkhearts’ A Pretty Faultless Debut
‘Junkhearts’ directed by Tinge Krishnan is the latest film in a new trend of independent filmmaking, in that it is now becoming typical in its low-budget, gritty fodder approach, that lurks on a council estate hiding some pretty grim characters.
It is London to Brightonesque both in nature and execution. It is concerned with an ex-soldier who is busy trying to drink himself to death, when he stumbles quite literally over a homeless girl. He offers her a place to stay for nothing in return, only to realise that it is going to cost him more than he could have ever dreamt up.
First let me start that this is a depressing story, even when you see glimmers of humour, more depression is piled upon more depression and you are left wondering if there are any redeeming features of any of the main characters.
Like most low budget British films, it is the acting that is truly remarkable and Junkhearts is no different. Whenever Eddie Marsan is on screen, he holds it with such charisma and raw powerful emotion that you can’t actually look away. Before I saw this, I was getting a little Eddie-Marsan-fatigue, seeing as he is in every other British film, however after this I now know that he has a lot more to give career-wise. Another mention must go to Candese Reid as a troubled young homeless girl, used by her boyfriend to exploit Marsan. She recently won best newcomer at the London Film Festival and it is not surprising why, for a debut performance it is quite clearly outstanding. There is not a performance out of place in this piece and special mentions must also be given to Tom Sturridge and Romola Garai.
The direction is pretty faultless for a debut feature, the film is very stylishly shot and lit and any reviews stating otherwise are quite clearly misguided. It is a very self assured and confident first film and is clearly the start of a new British talent.
There are though, a few issues that I have with the film. The sidelined story featuring Romola Garai as a drug addicted, depressed single mum are under developed and frankly feel a little bit like filler in order to create some sort of emotional-kick ending. I also found Candese’s characters descent into drug addiction far too rapid. She starts smoking a little crack and in the next scene she is literally trying to scrape some off of the floor to feed her habit. On a sidenote, can we please do away with the ‘I’m-walking-away, everything’s-fine endings’; this fad began and ended with Trainspotting.
It is a very assured and confident debut from Tinge Krishnan. Even if this depressing tale of human character hitting rock bottom isn’t for everybody, the performances are raw, captivating and strong enough to reach out to all.
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