Across The River uses the density of London, almost, against itself in this film, where its people and its streets are allowed to be not-at-odds with one another for a short period of time. Sincere films have this ability to both halt and create time in the same breath.
London becomes a living collection of memories itself, trying to reconcile what has happened between two of its past lovers.
Seven years have passed since Ryan and Emma’s relationship ended badly. Now it’s just another day in the hive. Trying to commute home through rivers of rushing people. For Em (Elizabeth Healey, Dr Strange), the normal flow of cogs taking her back home are jammed up by a tube strike, shaking the normal precision of her routine. Things are less altered for her first love, Ryan (Keir Charles, Man Up), as he takes a break from his sand castle building to read a comic by the South Bank.
There is a perfect scene where Em stands directly above Ryan at the Southbank barriers. Em is still trying to organise her ride home, but fumbles with her phone becoming even more harassed, dropping it down into some random man’s bucket. Across The River is a marriage of things that will always, and will never happen. An accident occurs—that we’ve all had—which takes us from a poem of awkward honesty, to below the mask of metronome banter.
“One little thing and the whole of London comes to a point.” -Emma
This film doesn’t dive below the skin of relationships making you bleed as such, but sits somewhere between an upbeat and lo-fi indie song, whimsical charm versus unmovable responsibility, and it’s here–in this place that connection creates regardless of time–that Ryan and Em travel through, enjoying their own city once again. Not to say that all territories aren’t covered, getting drunk and having it off with your boss, being sober and creating origami elephants after another bloody argument.
You’ll recognise the tone of this film intimately if you’ve ever lived and loved and worked in London, especially if you know the areas they that pass through. This film leaves over-waxed sentimentality at home however. And makes a gentle a song of life’s singular randomness within two lives. So different from each other that they become opposing archetypes by being together. Then forgetting that these differences exist at all, because today we’ll just take a walk mate, as we become able to chose which age we are again.
If Blue Valentine (2010) was only about one day, in the future, and LCD Soundsystem was more the soundtrack than Chet Baker, you would be closer to this energetic riff on two 30 something Londoners. Stereotypes are used a lot– but at least with a knowing wink. Females can change, but males cannot, girls need security, where lads are always wild, and so on. Unity letting us know that these are clichés of course. Yet here, Across The River understands the boundaries of its own concept, even to the point where it wraps things up in its own natural time frame of 1hr 15 minutes, choosing to conform to the length of its own story instead of adding any filler.
Dir: Warren B. Malone
Scr: Warren B. Malone, Elizabeth Healey, Keir Charles, Simon Josiffe
Cast: Elizabeth Healey, Keir Healey
Prd: Warren B. Malone, Jane Aprile, Jeannie Carla, Stella Ramsden
DOP: Leigh Alner, Fabrizio La Palombara
Music: Andy Hopkins
Across the River received its World Premiere at the Manchester Film Festival on 4th March
Across The River is showing at the Manchester Film Festival on March 4th, and will be showing at further selected cinemas across the UK.