Sunday, 27 February 2011

Milk (1998) - Andrea Arnold

   What a confident debut this is, taking in as it does several different locations, car interiors and even night shoots. It's not instantly identifiable as being by Arnold until the darkness of the film comes to the fore. Short films are so gratifying to watch when they are good, and it's a good film discipline to have under your belt before moving onto features. Having to convey a whole story within the space of ten minutes, leaves little or no time to tell back stories or any of that other stuff that often pushes modern films running times up and over the two hour mark. Instead the director has to use every image to tell the audience everything, so things like set dressing and costumes become extremely important.
   Here we have a couple that conceive and then lose a child within the first few minutes of the film. So while the dad (Stephen McGann) attends the funeral of his stillborn child, the mother (Lynda Steadman) goes off with a substitute child in the form of a joyriding teen (Lee Oakes) who she meets in the high street. Not a lot happens after the initial set up but it does show that people deal with grief in their own way, and leads to a bizarre unexpected ending. On the whole this was a decent little film, that hints at the greatness to come in future films by Arnold.

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