“The trick is not to let it affect you” – Struck (Film Review)

Rating:

Two students, Jenny and Kate, discuss a party, their friends and acquaintances in a park. Between their acidic exchanges, we discover the differences between them as they plan for their futures and their connection to Jamie and Steve. Things take an unexpected turn when love is betrayed and their teacher, Mr Thompson, appears for his evening run.

Beautifully shot by Jonathan Moore, with much of the film taking place outdoors, Struck is a tightly bound 70 minutes that is a well-observed and well-executed story of adolescence, love and friendship.  The film starts with two girls sharing their secrets before being engulfed in a secret of their own, one with life-changing consequences. It manages to eschew the conventions of British adolescent drama by grounding itself in a sense of reality; there’s little soap opera style over dramatisation, nor does the film tread the familiar “let’s kill her before she can tell” path.

The early choice to use POV footage is a bold one as we explore more of the friendships, brazen conversation.  In a generation of selfies and the ease with which we can catalogue our day, it makes sense that these characters would record the mundane.  It’s rapidly dropped, though, in favour of the more familiar filming techniques, but when it’s used it’s used well.

Struck is a solid tale of social interaction and the fragile nature of friendships and relationships. It avoids huge segments of exposition in favour of slowly teasing out the threads of its stories as we explore two parallel, yet interconnected, friendships.  As the story progresses, we learn more about Jenny and Kate, Steve and Jamie, before we’re interested in the man who changes it all, their teacher, Mr Thompson. From there, emotions are brought to the surface and are equally well exploited with conviction from the small cast.

A well made independent film with compelling performances from its cast and a convincing script that bristles with a sense of reality, Struck has a cast of six actors in total and they are convincing.  For much of the film, it’s difficult to pick out a single good performance as they all do so well. It’s as the plot twists that we see the first real standout in an impressive cast as Jenny (Daisy Montogomery) discovers the truth about the lad she calls her boyfriend and what people really think about her.  Much of the emotional weight is on her shoulders in the final third, with Connor Mayes’ Steve also getting a chance to really shine.

Dir: Alexander Milo Bischof & Michael Couvaras

Scr: Alexander Milo Bischof

Cast: Connor Mayes, Daisy Montgomery, Olivia Rose, Will Sutcliffe, Christopher Foran, Ayvlanna Snow

Prd: Natalie Gothelf

DOP: Jonathan Moore

Country: United Kingdom

Year: 2017

Runtime: 70 mins

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