Saw it at the monthly event, Minicine, which takes place in the Leeds Industrial Museum in a tiny 26 seat cinema. Free tea, home made cake and a DVD swap box. I knew nothing about the film at all except that Jason Isaacs is in it and that he has been doing some big time promoting for it. Glad he did.
Written and directed by Nick Whitfield; this is his feature debut and I will be looking out for more from him.
Two fellas, Davis (Ed Gaughan) and Bennet (Andrew Buckley) go about extracting people's metaphoric skeletons from their literal wardrobes. They set up lo-fi scientific/paranormal detection-looking equipment, then literally enter the wardrobe and are subsequently transported into the memories of those who own said wardrobe. The bulk of this film is spent on one particular case where a mother of two wants our mind wandering protagonists to enter her families' wardrobe/memories to see if they can locate her husband, who has been missing for eight years, but one of these extractors has been conducting his own trips into his own memories, hence the Inception link.
What it did particularly well:
The dialogue was captivating; it was incredibly inventive and funny at the same time as giving insight and depth to the characters.
It struck the right balance for me; it somehow managed to be ludicrously funny and far fetched whilst still convincingly dealing with sincere, weighty issues of loss, death and bereavement. One thing that helped prop up the gravitas of the subject matter, despite the zany setup, was the powerful powerful score, which maintained its own balance of being big, but non intrusive.
What unimpressed or missed potential:
The only loose knot was that the first example couples, that introduced us to this peculiar occupation, were really overacted and didn't capture the balance I mention above, of being unconventional yet still believable; they just seemed disingenuous. This got it off to an uncertain start (despite the fantastic opening conversation), but when they were out of the way, every other performance got it right.
It stressed the need to let things go; that you cannot - and should not - hold on to things that have gone. Holding onto falsified notions of how things are, based on what they were, can only damage the soul and cease any personal progression. Things can start anew, but they cannot do so until it can be accepted that some things must stay in the past.
There is a related sub-theme, regarding being true to your decisions rather than following what you are told should be. Further, that you will not be in a position of self worth, in order to achieve this level of self-confident decision making with skeletons in your past.
Scene of the film:
The scene when Davis wakes up Bulgarian is a contender, as is the very opening scene; the line of dialogue wherein Davis explains how, due to grounds of moral ambiguity, Rasputin cannot be deemed an assassination in the sane vein as someone the likes of JFK. Rasputin was straight up, rather than leading a double life of being one thing in public and another in private, so therefore was a different entity altogether. This comedic opening scene immediately sets up the theme of being true, honest and accepting responsibility.
Performance of the film:
Tuppence Middleton was great as the detached twenty one year old Candy, but the leads are what makes it what it is, particularly Ed Gaughan. It is worth inserting this link, that I stumbled across whilst checking up on who they are and what else they have done, only to discover that they aren’t actually film actors, but a comedy duo.
Funny, yet weighty. Well paced, with great music and even better performances.