Inspired by the music and lyrics of the one and only Boss, Bruce Springsteen, this grassroots drama set in the small town of Fraserburgh on the the Northern Scottish coast, is a film that seeks to find the personal connection in the songs that we listen to, and how those connections change as we get older and are faced with new challenges.
Run tells the story of Finnie (Mark Stanely) a young father of a teenager still living in his small hometown. With his son seemingly heading down a similar path, driving around at night racing in cars and with a young girlfriend who may be pregnant, Finnie feels on the verge of a breakdown and takes out his son’s car for a night akin to his youth. When his son’s girlfriend, Kelly (Marli Siu), comes along for the drive, Finnie is faced with a night that forces him to see what is really important beyond nostalgic dreams of escape.
Run tells a very slight story; it has a very brief runtime that barely breaks past the 80-minute mark. Its intentions are modest, its story powered by a very obvious personal connection. There’s enough here to relate to though, beyond it being a very specific experience growing up in a small seaside Scottish town. We can likely all relate to the idea of dreaming of leaving home to take on the big wide world and may feel some disappointment when our dreams don’t exactly come to fruition through whatever manner of events. That is what is happening to Finnie, and in trying to recapture the nights of his youth, he finally gets a window to do some growing up and reflect on just where his life has led.
Much of how this is dramatised is simply by driving around the town at night, bickering with his son’s girlfriend over their music tastes, desires to leave home and just how similar Finnie and his son really are. The small town of Fraserburgh, which we largely see by night, is given a cinematic edge by a director clearly relishing at the chance to bring this small town to the big screen. There’s a sense of homegrown verve to the proceedings that helps the film, that is very thin on actual incident, cruise about its night out with an easy-going vibe, simply enjoying the freedom that a car represents in someone’s life, particularly when they are young.
Its use of music feels a bit disappointing when faced with the enticing notion that it is playing on attachment to song lyrics, in this case coming from Bruce Springsteen. It is certainly more restrained in how it uses music when compared to the likes of the similarly themed but more overtly musical Blinded by the Light, which feels a little bit like a wasted opportunity, particularly when regarding the fact that most of the film is just driving around; the perfect chance for a jukebox driven flick. What helps is that the performances seem genuine throughout though, and despite it slightly rushing towards the end, the character progressions feel organic and earned.
Run may seem pretty thin on the surface, but there’s a lot here that one can relate to, particularly if you also grew up in a small community. It’s a brief, unchallenging night driving around town, but one that has a very modest and sincere approach to its recognisable themes. It’s a charming story with a lot of care behind its performances, even if it’s a very slight cruise around town imbued with the spirit of Springsteen and embracing the thrill of a midnight run.
Dir: Scott Graham
Scr: Scott Graham
Cast: Mark Stanley, Amy Manson, Marli Siu, Anders Hayward
Prd: Ciara Barry, Rosie Crerar, Margeret Matheson
DOP: Simon Tindall
Run time: 78 mins
Run will be released in UK cinemas on 13th March 2020.