Published on June 21st, 2014 | by Allan Brown0
EIFF 2014: Greyhawk Review
Movie Review: Greyhawk (2014)
Running Time: 90 mins
Director: Guy Pitt
Writer: Matt Pit
Cast: Alec Newman, Zoe Telford, Jack Shepherd, Juliet Oldfield, Michael Fox, Harry Sadeghi, Tim Parker, Danny Williams
As the blurb suggests, the premise is simple; “A man loses his best friend and finds himself”. But what director Guy Pitt has fashioned out of this simple narrative, is something altogether profound and quite beautiful.
The story follows Mal, a stubborn blind British combat veteran who must negotiate the foreign terrain of the Greyhawk estate in a bid to find his lost guide dog, and only friend Quince. What unfolds is a visceral 90 minute character study, were themes of isolation and self discovery are dealt with in the most sincere way, thanks to the unwavering and truly sublime performance from Alec Newman. Although Mal is a hard character to warm too, his transcendence and self discovery in the third act is dealt with such care and honesty, that this tragic character will likely leave even the hardened of audience members, genuinely moved.
Zoe Telford also offers a rich and endearing performance as frightened single mother, Paula. She presents an immediate vulnerability to her role and her interplays with Mal are truly fascinating. We watch these two tragic characters find a certain sanctuary in each other, as they battle their own fear and solitude in their own distinct ways.
Although again, a very simple A-B surface narrative, writer Matt Pitt intelligently adds engaging themes and a subtle social commentary, that challenges our preconceived social stereotypes. One example of this is when Mal is navigating his way around the estate posting flyers through doors. As he turns the corner, the faint sounds of Indian bhangra music is heard from one of the nearby flats. As Mal approaches, the music gets louder. Mal’s profile then fills the screen; he sniffs once, and again, then pauses. This beat forces the audience to fill in the void of what the pungent smell could be that has stopped Mal in his tracks. The camera then pans down to reveal a case of freshly picked flowers. These frequent moments are crafted with love and attention, and are an absolute delight to watch unfold.
Summary: Greyhawk is a wonderfully profound and personal British character drama that is anchored by a compelling central performance. Its screenplay is smart and its strong visual direction, unwavering. For me, Greyhawk just might be the stand out film at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.