As far as film titles go, I struggle to think of one more well suited to represent its theme than Philippe Audi-Dor’s latest film Wasp. The movie follows Olivier (Simon Haycock) and James (Hugo Bolton) as they embark on a romantic break in the picturesque south of France. Representing Eve in this Garden of Eden though is Elly Condron as Caroline: an old friend of James’ who has recently suffered a nasty breakup.
The story starts sedately enough; they drink, they swim, they drink, they sunbathe, they drink, they talk about their sexuality, they drink. Just your standard friendly getaway really. Things take a sour turn, however, when Caroline and Olivier begin to show illicit feeling towards each other. Cue an hour of sexually charged glances and extended physical contact culminating in a rather awkward game of ‘never have I ever’.
After the first 10 minutes, I was starting to fear the worst. There seemed to be little chemistry between the characters, the dialogue appeared forced and jittery, and Caroline seemed determined to show the audience why James lost contact with her in the first place.
She is rude, awkward, she explicitly encourages Olivier to cheat on James, and worst of all, she pronounces ‘mojito’ incorrectly. She is the titular wasp: the annoying pest doing her absolute best to ruin everyone’s holiday.
However, as the story progressed, I found myself feeling somewhat sorry for her. Condron really shines with the confused, self destructive post-breakup persona and as such I found myself forgiving her earlier indiscretions and even empathising with her. As for James and Olivier, they start the film as that perfect, happy, attractive couple who we all hate (don’t we? No? Just me?… Oh well) but who then develop into suspicious, angry and – in James’ case – cruel individuals. Combined, the three character arcs provide a very intriguing juxtaposition, one that will draw you in the longer the film goes on.
As you would expect from a movie set in the south of France, the cinematography is beautiful, and the soundtrack – though minimal – perfectly complements the tension that builds throughout. These positives aside, the real strength of this film lies in the cast; for a film that has only three characters, strong and varied performances are essential to keep the viewer entertained, and all three leads – despite getting off to a slow start – more than succeed in doing that. Overall, a thoroughly terrible time for the characters results in a thoroughly enjoyable time for the viewer. Worth a watch.
4 / 5
Dir: Philippe Audi-Dor
Scr: Philippe Audi-Dor
Starring: Hugo Bolton, Elly Condron, Simon Haycock
Prd: Philippe Audi-Dor
DOP: Pablo Rojo
Run time: 77 mins
Wasp is screening as part of the Raindance Film Festival at the VUE Piccadilly on Sunday 27 at 18:30 and Wednesday 30 September at 16:40. It’s due for release on DVD on Monday 28th September.