Burn Burn Burn
Charming British dramedy starring Laura Carmichael that marks the directorial debut of Chanya Button
Chanya Button's directorial debut is a road trip movie about life and death that boasts a real depth of emotional intelligence, while still having a great sense of humour about itself. The title is taken from a passage in Jack Kerouac's seminal Beat novel On the Road that describes the excitement life should bring, especially if you surround yourself with eccentric souls. Button and screenwriter Charlie Covell capture late 20s ennui wonderfully through their fully realised main characters, who are both experiencing existential crises.
Laura Carmichael and Chloe Pirrie star as Seph and Alex, two best friends who take to the open road at the request of their recently departed mate Dan (Jack Farthing) to scatter his ashes at specific locations across the UK. Their travels take them from Glastonbury Abbey, where they meet a jobsworth tour guide (a funny turn by Alice Lowe), to Loch Lomond. The frivolity dies down the further they get on their journey, with Dan appearing from beyond the grave via videos to impart some harsh truths to his friends.
Button makes the women's travels across the UK's landscape look thrilling and magical, particularly with her wondrous final shots of the misty Scottish mountains. Pirrie is fantastic as a woman struggling with a dark secret and the outrageous behaviour of her best friend. Her flushed cheeks and melancholic gazes imbue a real sense of embarrassment and alienation. Farthing delivers drunken, bitter monologues with convincing passion and Carmichael does 'hot mess' with unbridled enthusiasm.
The friendship between the women swerves between drily witty and unexpectedly moving. Many of the wayward characters they meet on the road exhibit kindness and compassion and, when it's time for the girls to repay the favour with the appearance of a fragile hitchhiker, it's difficult not to get teary-eyed and totally wrapped up in the final throes of their tour.
Selected release from Fri 28 Oct.