Bypass

"Excellent"

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.

MacKay is superb at capturing the complexity of the role, creating a character we can root for even if he causes many of his own problems. (Honestly, anyone who has seen a movie knows not to hide your stash of cash in a random box!) But Tim isn't stupid, he knows how precarious his life is, but he's so terrified of what might happen next that he'll do anything that might help. This makes the film seriously unnerving, because his desperation drives him to rash decisions. It's also a remarkably astute look at the slippery slope of grief, poverty and crime. A bit of light relief might have helped make it more identifiable, but this film is so packed with complex relationships and raw humanity that we can't help but see ourselves up there on screen.



Bypass

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

In Theaters: Thursday 26th February 2015

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 5.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Duane Hopkins

Producer: Samm Haillay

Starring: as Tim, as Grandfather, as Lilly, Anton Saunders as Fence, Felicity Gilbert as Julie, Benjamin Dilloway as Greg, Lara Peake as Helen, Alan Billingham as Hospital Outpatient

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