Prevenge, review

When the Ben Wheatley directed Sightseers came out, it put Alice Lowe at the forefront of British cinema, with her terrifying and hilarious performance as one of the murderous campers. She was well received in a film which isn’t really something for mainstream audiences, yet she made it work. The fact that she co-wrote the film is equally impressive. Well, it seems she has a taste for blood as she stars in her directorial debut, Prevenge which sees a soon-to-be mother exact revenge on several individuals who have done her wrong. Her experience as a writer on Sightseers shines through in a dynamic and original way, coming up with more and more shocking ways to kill her victims.

She stars as Ruth who goes on a murderous rampage during the final weeks of her pregnancy. Her victims are completely clueless until their final moments; she’s charming, sweet, horny, polite and psychotic. All the while, being told to do away with these people by her unborn child, Lowe has perfected the look of someone who can quickly switch between innocence and evil. 

In between her killing spree, we see her have a few sessions with her midwife who has a few gems of advice which appear to ring true. The back and fourth between the two regularly have nuggets of hilarity, as they clearly disagree on almost everything when it comes to life, giving birth and raising a child. A particularly stinging line comes from John Hartley’s midwife who says “You have absolutely no control over your mind or body now. Baby will tell you what to do.” 

We get to know most of her intended victims, of which there’s a misogynistic 70s DJ, an uptight career woman, a fitness freak and more. The DJ in particular seems to have had it coming for a while. You’ll almost be begging Ruth to do away with him after he proceeds to vomit in his afro wig (after which he plants a vomity kiss on Ruth, which will either make you sick, laugh or both.) 

From all of these encounters, she’s captured perfectly what it’s like on a night out trying to take someone home, in an interview situation with no hope, to meet someone genuinely nice but not being able to make it work (killing their flatmate doesn’t help relationships funnily enough). The film is as fun you as it is gruesome with plenty of people meeting their end in bloody fashion that can be compared to a time when horror movies were this gory. 

Alice Lowe was pregnant at the time of filming and, whilst some of her problems as Ruth during her final trimester are extreme, there are points raised which bare resemblance to everyday pregnancies. Not being able to find someone because you’re expecting which leads to Ruth covering up who she is. Interviewing for a job you need in order to make a bit extra but knowing full well that you won’t get it due to your unborn child. Unable to do interesting and adventurous activities because of your “condition” is painfully truthful. In a film about bloody revenge it’s Lowe’s incredible talent and insightful storytelling which takes this tale of vengeance just that much deeper. 

4 out of 5.

Keep. It. Reel.

Locke, film review

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There have been only a couple of films in (my) recent memory which have primarily had just one main actor who was the focus of that particular flick: Phonebooth and Buried. The latter is better than the former however both have their similar merits. Both create a story from almost nothing using just a phone. Both happen where you can feel totally isolated. Both create a brilliant sense of hope even though it may be false. But just Buried has, what I feel is an unexpected ending. The same has been done again, one man, one phone, talking to several people yet still completely isolated. Alone.

Locke, starring Tom Hardy, is a journey of one man trying to get from Point A to Point B. It’s a simple as that It’s what happens on the way is what creates the image of the man we see in front of us. The only man we ever seen in front of us throughout the film. At the start, he finishes his job, takes off his boots, puts them in the back seat, sits comfortably in the drivers seat and gets going. After that, it’s Hardy’s face on screen for about an hour and a half, giving an incredible performance. Incredible because it’s all on Hardy. We hear voices and see the lights of other late night drivers, but that’s it.

During his commute to London, he speaks to his boss, his wife, both of his sons, his co-worker, his lover, the nurse, the doctor and a few others in between. Whilst his emotions remain on a slight simmer, there are occasional outbursts which appear to be out of character for a usual mellow and quietly spoken Ivan Locke. Despite his mellow mood, you can see the weight of everything happening through these phone calls resting on his shoulders, the stress slowly boiling up further and further. His outbursts are rare moments come with perfect timing whether it’s to do with why he’s taking this journey or how he’s trying to solve a problem in his construction site. they feel right

This journey is the result of one mistake Locke has made, a mistake which was a while ago and only recently has come back to haunt him. This one mistake has caused Hardy’s Ivan Locke to have a truly existential crisis. It’s with all of these elements where we see how the director, Steven Knight who also wrote Locke, shows incredibly strong human emotions in such a simple way. Hardly any reaction to what is happening to him, Tom Hardy’s face tells a lot of tales.

This is essential a simple film about a job going wrong and a man’s personal life in turmoil, all of which he is trying to sort out in one night. A strong leading man with an up-and-coming writer / director, a car and the road prove that’s all you really need for an astonishing movie.