Sunday, September 28, 2014

Raindance: Gregor (2014)

The last few years in the UK have been a strange time for young people.  A generation that was promised that all employment would be meaningful if they worked hard at school had the rug pulled from under them in the greatest financial crisis in a century.  So many of them just work office jobs with no real reward, yet still feel that they have the innate creativity that their college education deserves.  This is the story of one of those people

Gregor (Ollie Marsden) is an archetypical millennial living in London who spends his time at work – in a job he doesn’t understand – reading the Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame until 10am until he can relieve himself in his bosses toilet.  When this inevitably leads to his dismissal, he returns home to his housemate Daisy (an obvious nod to Spaced) who also has an equally monotonous job and decides that he wants to pursue his dream of being a writer.

Luckily then he meets the elusive Terry (Matt King) a sexually frustrated ex-addict who promises him creative freedom in a delusional new magazine project.  They reluctantly go to an upper-middle class dinner party, where Gregor meets Amber (Ruby Thomas), an American sexual deviant who is the daughter of a millionaire and obsessed with Obama and racial politics.  Struggling to balance Terry's eccentricity with Amber's growing perversions, Gregor must figure out the easiest way to navigate his mid-twenties crisis.

If you came of age with Queer As Folk, Nathan Barley, Spaced and Peep Show then this is an incredibly funny film, with a well crafted script and relatable characters.  King and Marsden have a great chemistry and brilliant dialogue, King especially being allowed to really become his character - which is a mixture of Withnail and Tyres O'Flaherty from Spaced.  There have been plenty of ‘druggies’ in UK film (Human Traffic, Football Factory…etc.) but King captures the UK addict like no-one else.

The script is so hyper-relevant that it will be completely irrelevant by 2015 but whilst we’re still in 2014 it is amazingly funny.  Jokes about the death of James Gandolfini and Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Keynote speeches will make no sense in 18 months time but perfectly reflects our current obsession with 'zeitgeist' and viral content.  At once so immediate and yet so transient.  This makes the film both incredibly inclusive, and yet a time capsule of the summer of '14.

The budget for the film was apparently £8,000 – a small amount for a short let alone a feature – and yet at no point did it feel cheap or lacking.  The directors (and cast) were just really creative with the resources that they had, and even if some of the lines didn’t live up to the high calibre of other moments, the overall achievement is very impressive.  I hope that writer/directors Mickey Down & Konrad Kay don’t get pulled into writing TV shows and follow this up with another acutely-observed UK comedy…

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