As full to bursting with British talent as a freshly ripened fruit, this stifling adolescent drama has garnered much praise over the last few months at various film festivals across the UK. The feature length directorial debut of Tom Harper, who made the critically acclaimed shorts ‘Cubs’ and ‘Cherrie’, it tells the story of two best friends, the slightly naïve David (Thomas Turgoose) and sparky Emily (Holliday Granger) who live on a caravan site in Norfolk. When the story begins they are safely cocooned in that sexually unaware phase of long hazy summers and lighthearted play. But their halcyon days are inevitably numbered.
Emily’s mother (Susan Lynch) has a drink problem and in struggling with her care resolves to send her away to live with her father. The pair decide, in that feverish desperate way only teenagers could, that they cannot possibly be parted. Cue the disastrous decision to hide her away to prevent this from happening. This action sparks a massive hunt for the missing teen, which has far reaching implications not only for the community but reveals motives for which the (by now lovelorn) David is not fully aware.
If Thomas Turgoose’s performance is anything like those he gave in ‘This Is England’ or ‘Somerstown’ (by Brit director Shane Meadows) then we are in for a treat indeed. He is a startling natural and affecting new talent. Elsewhere, the usually fantastic Steven Mackintosh is a tad vaudevillian as the policeman heading the investigation whilst Susan Lynch’s drunk initially appears to turn in a worryingly one note Winehouse impersonation, but these are minor criticisms.
Screenwriter Jack Thorne (whose previous credits include Skins and Shameless) won the London Film Festival Award for Best British Newcomer for the screenplay. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fishtank) is definitely a man to watch, he imbues the film with a swooping retro tinged realism. Just to round things off there’s a soundtrack by Noah & The Whale. Given the wealth of home-grown talent on display this is definitely a film worth looking out for.
A Celador, Screen East and Film4 collaboration, the film is due for release at selected cinemas on 19th March.