Donald Sumpter

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Bypass Review


After Pride, young British actor George MacKay returns to a much smaller scale of filmmaking for this dark, moody English drama. It may be somewhat gloomy and intense, but it gets under the skin because filmmaker Duane Hopkins (Better Things) remains so tightly focused on MacKay's character, offering a complex portrait of a young man pushed to desperation. Some earthy humour would have helped make it more resonant, as well as perhaps a lighter touch with some of the bigger plot points, but this is thoughtful and provocative filmmaking.

MacKay plays Tim, a young guy barely out of his teens and struggling to care for his surly teen sister Helen (Lara Peake). Their parents are long gone, and older brother Greg (Benjamin Dilloway) is in prison. So with the bills overdue and his girlfriend (Charlotte Spencer) expecting a baby, Tim sees little alternative but to follow Greg's lead into petty crime. But his boss is pushing him into increasingly dangerous situations, and as he tries to keep up with everything, Tim is ignoring the signs that something is seriously wrong with his health.

The title is the clue here, and Hopkins deploys a variety of visual touches to tell the story from within Tim's limited perspective. This includes lots of extreme close-ups, frantic hand-held action, slow-motion camerawork and a sound mix that's often out-of-sync with the images. Combined with a mournful musical score, this creates a strikingly powerful atmosphere. Yes, it's all rather bleak, but things are livened up by lyrical flashbacks and conversations that seem cut off in the middle, demanding that we work out the scene ourselves because that's exactly how Tim experiences it.

Continue reading: Bypass Review

In The Heart of The Sea - Teaser Trailer


In August of 1819, The Essex set sail from New England. The whaling ship set out beyond the edges of the map to hunt in unknown waters. What the 21-man crew discovered, was far from what they could ever have imagined. A sperm whale - absolutely gigantic and hell-bent on destroying their comparatively tiny ship. While battling the demon of a sea beast, the ship was destroyed, and many of the crew were killed. As the few survivors struggled to find land and make their way back to South America, they faced a harrowing adventure, and fought insanity, storms, starvation and despair. All with the great whale fresh in their minds. The crew referred to it as Moby Dick.

Continue: In The Heart of The Sea - Teaser Trailer

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