Beached - Short Film Review by Teri Levett

Short film review

Isolated Tourette’s sufferer, David, forges an unlikely friendship with troubled Kes.

The film begins with sixteen year old David (Alexander Abineri) staring out to sea from the grounds of the caravan park where he lives with his neurotic and over-protective mother (Jemma Churchill) on Canvey Island. His loneliness is apparent in this bleak and empty landscape.

Kes (Adelaide Percy) is a disturbed child. Appearing as though she has barely entered her teens, she proudly shows off her seven shag bands to her friends. She and David know each other by sight only- her friends preferring to take pictures of him on their mobiles as he fights to control his physical and verbal ticks.

Life at home is equally grim for David. Stuck in his shabby home, his mother babies him, mentioning excitedly that she has seen “A lovely Harry Potter lunchbox in town.” He is ignored by two seemingly younger brothers who actually turn out to be ‘friends’ who only come round to play with his Wii.

Kes approaches him on the beach later and tries to make friends. Her clumsy attempts are both funny and touching: “You get to call teachers cunts? Cool”. A tender and interesting friendship emerges with each accepting and enjoying the other’s idiosyncrasies. The film ends positively with the feeling that this friendship will give David the strength to escape his cloying mother.

A lot of story is packed in to the 12 minutes from writer/director team Elizabeth Heery and Sally Millest yet nothing ever seems crammed and the gentle pace allows a real showcase for all the performers. The two young leads portray their characters with a sensitivity and maturity well beyond their years. Their relationship never feels forced and is both engaging and believable. Jemma Churchill is almost unrecognisable ( Upstairs Downstairs) as the dowdy, fretsome parent trying to protect her son from the world and yet still elicits sympathy with her compelling performance. Robert Percy’s score is disjointed and awkward, expertly complementing the three main performers.

This film marks a departure for theatre director Sally Millest better known for her work with the comedian Russell Kane. She has managed to coach touching and interesting performances from all her actors with special mention going to Alexander Abineri for a startlingly accurate portrayal of a child crippled by this debilitating condition. The script is crisp and engaging with some very funny moments- the look on the friendly dog walker’s face when greeted with a string of expletives from David is priceless.

I think this female writer/director team are one to watch and I look forward to viewing their future projects.

Southend Film Festival
Directed by Sally Millest
Written by Elizabeth Heery
Running Time 12 minutes
Cast: Alexander Abineri; Adelaide Percy; Jemma Churchill; Louis Davison;
Joel Davison; Sebastian Abineri

2011 twotree island films

© Teri Levett 18.02.2012

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