Imagine you’re a spring leaf floating down the calmest river your imagination can muster. Serenity coupled with warm light and a gentle breeze. Is there a point when this relaxing scenario can turn into an unwanted sedation? That’s Hinterland. Taking a sedative and never truly experiencing a real dramatic bite. Maybe that’s the “tenderness” the synopsis refers to?
Harry Macqueen directs/writes and stars as Harvey in his debut feature film about a rekindling of an old friendship with Lola (Lori Campbell) after years of separation. The reason being that life simply led them down alternate paths. Upon reuniting, they road trip to the coastal cottage where they spent much of their youth and recount their personal experiences with love, loss and self discovery and we perceive how this has changed their outlook on life as well as themselves.
For an £8,000 (estimated) budget, this is a remarkable achievement in creating a professional looking film and if you’re an aspiring film maker it would certainly be worth the watch to see how far that sum of money can get you. At no point (or very rarely) does the quality regarding sound, cinematography or editing ever distract you from the story. It employs the text book definition of a ‘naturalistic’ acting approach and is adequately performed from opening credits to closing curtain.
There is quirkiness to Harvey and Lola’s friendship that makes for interesting viewing yet these are moments short-lived. There is a certain charm to viewing the not so literal approach to sub textual communication, the drama that develops within the silences rather than within the words spoken or actions taken. Albeit naturalistic acting, there was never anything in the story that required the actors to push themselves into standout (in the classic/stylised sense) performances which is why to some Hinterland wouldn’t elevate past a less than average experience. The decision to like this film will be decided on the overall preference of how you like your story delivered.
For me, Harry Macqueen’s ability to direct far outweigh his many other talents as a writer/actor. There are indeed some visually beautiful scenic shots of coastal landscapes and lush, hillside greenery yet this is not enough to tie the package together as a whole. Viewing Hinterland is far from an awful experience but in the striking emergence of a new generation of film makers (with zero budgets or next to) it simply didn’t have enough of an impact to linger in one’s memory. I guess that’s just how I like my story delivered… in whatever genre, style or form … just with a bit more bite.
Hinterland will be in UK Cinemas & On Demand from February 27 2015.