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British Film Review: Electricity
Directed By Bryn Giggins
An unusual, beautiful, stunning, exciting thrill ride.
Every once in a while, a UK film manages to adhere to all that’s best in British, and be something that is truly ‘stand-alone’ brilliant. The British are famous for being quirky, original and having some of the best technicians in film today. In Electricity which is the tale about a girl with epilepsy who, upon the death of her mother, embarks on a search for a lost brother, all of these elements come together. In what is technically, a genre less film, we follow in the footsteps of all that is best about UK film, but so rarely seen. Part road movie, part surreal, fantastical triumph of the spirit, and strong urban drama,Electricity is simply one of the best films to be made here for some time.
So what makes it so wonderful? Firstly, the story is told bravely bang smack, through the eyes of the central character, ‘Lily’, played superbly by hitherto, largely unknown actress,Aygness Deyn, whose portrayal of Lily, almost explodes on the screen. When we first meet Lily, she’s a young, pretty, funky girl who gets asked out on a date. We share her excitement as she dresses, and share her growing happiness and hope, as done up in a sparkly sequinned mini dress, she steps out along the sea front to meet her beau. However, as she progresses, we see first-hand though her eyes and hear her own words tell us exactly what happens as she falls headlong into a full blown epileptic fit. Straightaway, we identify with her angst and anger, as she knows yet another stab at a normal life, with the chance of a boyfriend is about to be severed by her illness. From this point, we free fall with her into an, amazing, terrifying world of hallucinations and eventual black out, then, the disorientating surfacing, back into the normal world, greeted by ambulance medics and taken home, all hopes dashed.
First hand, the audience realizes just how the condition has crushed any chance of normality for this bright, lovely, lively and intelligent girl. Then, when her estranged mother dies shortly after, we also learnt that Lily was also neglected and rejected by her mother, who was too weak to cope with Lily, which endears us to her even more. For Lily is clearly a survivor and a thriver’ and, with the proceeds from the sale of their mother’s small house to share out, Lily meets up with her older brother. Here the tension starts, because the older brother is in favour of cutting out their younger brother, who long since left home, and has almost disappeared. Lily however was very fond of him as a child, because he looked out for her, and the conflict pushes her, against the advice of those who care about her, to want to go to London, to find him. Not knowing if or when she may have a fit makes this a perilous, life threatening journey, but for Lily, it’s also a cry for freedom, and with a passionate desire to also find the lost brother who she remembers as her only close family, Lily sets off. From here the film opens up as we go with her on what turns out to be tale full of twists, turns, drama and life threatening danger.
The direction by Bryn Higgins is awe inspiring. His blending of the dramatic, heart rending elements of the Lily’s search for her brother, with the fantastical, sometimes horrifying and spiritual elements of her inner journey and the struggle to deal with epilepsy is beautiful, and show him to be a master of his craft. Shot beautifully by Si Bell, (definitely one to watch) the colours, shots, framing and style of the photography is breath-taking, and add to Aygness Deyn’s portrayal of Lily and give her story tremendous believability. The editing, special effects, supporting cast, locations, wardrobe, make up, production design, even the title credits are all stunningly crafted, to make this rare, wonderful film, so full of depth, thrills, and hope, with a wonderful triumph of the spirit story at its core. It deserves all the accolades it will surely get, and every bit of commercial success it gets too, for here is a true UK masterpiece, that like all masterpieces, would appeal to a wide audience.
Five stars and rising.
'Electricity' is in UK cinemas 12th December 2014
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