Friday, 11 July 2014


Exhibiting a mature appreciation of the characteristics of relationships both under duress and in relative peacefulness, Kat Candler shows an innate promise with her third, and most high-profile to date, feature, Hellion. She would do well to resist the lure of easy indie cinema cliche, as while it may purport to offer her increasing opportunities as an aspiring filmmaker, it also stymies her creativity. Hellion is blighted by its strict adherence to formula, which drags the film into scenarios that feel all the more unnatural due to the piercing, perceptive realism with which Candler's dialogue and direction are generously imbued. She's capable of mining considerable dramatic value from even the hokiest of situations all the same, but one feels that she's equally capable of mining the same degree of emotional impact from more adventurous material, if not notably more. A film caught between past and future, Hellion is virtually plot-free in the present. Candler displays enormous insight into the behaviour of the human brain - its preoccupations with things that have been and gone, and its anxieties about things that may be to come. It's only when her characters demonstrate a solid capacity for genuine resolve that they can rest, even if that resolve is found in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Rather than a regular narrative, her film is defined by the fluctuating states of these figures' inter-personal connections, brilliantly explored in a late scene wherein Candler explores the mentalities of five separate individuals in one fast-paced fracas with terrific clarity. She does leave room for improvement in her evocation of time and place - the film's mood is communicated almost solely by its cast and script, though both are highly able at carrying such a load.