Published on July 4th, 2015 | by Allan Brown1
EIFF 2015: Scottish Mussel Review
Movie Review: Scottish Mussel (2015)
Running Time: 93 mins
Director: Talulah Riley
Writer: Talulah Riley
Cast: Martin Compston, Talulah Riley, Joe Thomas, Paul Branningan, Morgan Watkins, Emun Elliot, Harry Enfield , Rufus Hound, Russell Kane
Juggling the disciplines of acting, writing and directing, comes Talulah Riley’s feature début; the highland conservationist rom-com: Scottish Mussel (2015).
While tending to his incarcerated Aunt Nettie’s cannabis farm in an isolated cottage somewhere in the Scottish highlands, Ritchie (Martin Compston) and his motley crew of dim-witted pals; Fraser (Joe Thomas) and Danny (Paul Brannigan) spearhead a campaign to illegal fish for the endangered Scottish Mussel, and the pearls they MAY contain. But when Ritchie begins to fall for a beautiful English conservationist (Talulah Riley) whose soul being is to protect the species from extinction, Ritchie’s attitude soon begins to change.
A light-hearted, playful rom-com with sentiments in conservation is what Scottish Mussel shoots for, but sadly misfires dramatically.
When Joe Thomas and Morgan Watkins are not competing for the worst accent award, and Riley is not shamelessly stripping off – for the umpteenth time -, Brannigan is there, once again, delighting us with a performance so robotic it could give C3PO a run for his money. The sad fact is, nothing here works. From its abundance of diabolical performances, a script that seems to have been coughed onto the back of a cigarette packet, and some of the most contrived characters and shameless plot devices ever to be committed to celluloid, we are dragged through one cacophony of misfires to the next, begging the question; how on earth did Scottish Mussel ever get funded?
Despite its good intentions and worthy message, a poster simply saying ‘Respect Scottish Wildlife’ may have achieved more purpose, and indeed more depth. However, through all it shortfalls, Martin Compston comes away nearly unscathed. He injects a much needed pulse to the proceedings with his cheeky Glaswegian charm, and his acting smarts offer the only sincerity showcased throughout. However as you may have guessed, even that is not enough to save the film, but when it force feeds the audience plot devices that sound like a bad episode of Lassie “There’s been a chemical spill up river and its on its way down stream – But that’s where all your mussel beds are” – DUN DUN DUN!! – what chance did it ever have?
Summary: Bathed in the attributes more suited to the soulless melodrama of daytime television than the Silver Screen, ensures this mollusk is pearl free.