Shell

"Excellent"

Shell Review


With a remarkably vivid sense of life in rural Scotland, this tightly contained drama is an impressive debut for writer-director Graham. There isn't much dialog, and yet the filmmaker is able to evoke a strong sense of internal urgency within the characters. And in the demanding title role, newcomer Pirrie is magnetic.

Shell (Pirrie) is a 17-year-old girl who lives with her father Pete (Mawle) at their roadside petrol garage in the middle of nowhere along a highway through the Highlands. Devoted to caring for her dad, who has epilepsy, Shell knows all the customers, including a slightly too-friendly businessman (Smiley) who travels through here regularly. And Pete and Shell are willing to help stranded travellers, such as a couple (Dickie and Hickey) that needs help when they run into a deer on the road. Meanwhile, nice local guy Adam (De Caestecker) wants to take Shell away from here, but the thought of that triggers slightly too-affectionate feelings about her dad.

The film is a marvel of tiny details, as Shell and Pete communicate without the need for many words. And Graham's cameras capture every sideways glance, hint of a smile, light touch and uncomfortable scowl to let us see how isolated this father and daughter are from the rest of civilisation. This style of interaction creates tension that sometimes feels rather dangerous. For example, after Pete takes a trip into town, Shell sniffs him like a jealous wife. Yes, these are raw performances that are often unnerving. And since we see everything through Pirrie's expressive, haunted, hopeful eyes, we can't help but be drawn into her world.

The film is a remarkable combination of scenes that are tender, thoughtful and occasionally terrifying. Graham captures the setting so effectively that the expansive landscape feels oddly claustrophobic. Cinematographer Yoliswa Gartig shoots the film beautifully, contrasting the expressive faces with surrounding mountains and valleys, over which hangs a relentlessly grey sky. In other words, this is like a place that time forgot, a stop on the way somewhere more important, and the only life Shell has ever known. So of course she's thinking of heading down the road herself.

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th March 2013

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Scott Graham

Producer: Margaret Matheson

Starring: Chloe Pirrie as Shell, as Pete, as Hugh, as Adam, as Claire, Morven Christie as Young Mother, as Hunter, Tam Dean Burn as Trucker, Paul Thomas Hickey as Robert, Milla Gibson as Little Girl, Cameron McQuade as Boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

Advertisement
The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.