Childhood friends are reunited in this sincere but uneventful debut
This British two-hander is prettily shot, credibly performed and sure of what it wants to achieve – though its particular aspirations won’t do much for viewers who prefer films in which stuff happens, or who have an aversion to post-adolescent navel-gazing. Not only low-budget, but low-key to the point of stasis, Hinterland plays like a well-bred English cousin to mumblecore, the American indie movement that likes to peer close-up at the trauma suffered by bohemian 20-somethings when they are called upon to enter adulthood.
Our sensitive little flowers are Harvey (played by Harry Macqueen, also the film’s writer, director and producer) and Lola (Lori Campbell), long-separated childhood playmates and teenage cronies, who reunite as young adults and visit the Cornwall holiday home in which they once spent happy times. Things, inevitably, have changed – she’s travelled the world, throwing herself at life’s challenges; he’s attempted to settle down, but seen his relationship and literary aspirations falter. Bonds between and with their parents have shown frailty too.
If the conversations between Harvey and Lola are fraught with rather painful pseudo-profundities, and the bubble of self-regard in which they operate is a distinctly claustrophobic realm, cinematographer Ben Hecking’s gorgeous evocation of the rugged rural setting distinguishes the film, as does its focus upon a relationship rarely acknowledged in cinema: the intimate but sexless male-female one. Among the other factors conspicuously and happily absent are phoney grittiness, posturing pessimism and gratuitous debauchery – this is unashamedly a nice film, about being creative, sheltered and a little bit lost.
While it’s distinctly possible that you’ll want to slap Harvey and Lola (especially when Lola gets her guitar out and starts crooning songs about dancing through dreams), it’s also very clear that Macqueen has drive, sincerity and talent, and that this small-scale but elegant work could serve as an effective calling card for a significant future career.
Selected release from Fri 27 Feb.