Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Raindance: Love/Me/Do (2015)

Antonia (Rebecca Calder) is a wry and restrained investment banker who enjoys the luxuries that her career provides her, and Max (Jack Gordon) is a self-assured aspiring East London actor.  They are getting to know each playing teasing psychological games with one another and deconstructing the act of ‘dating’ over the course of a few successful evenings.  As they begin to reveal themselves, they each disclose secrets and insecurities that bring them closer together but ultimately lead to commit shocking acts of revenge…

Writer/Director Martin Stitt manages to create a pair of engaging characters with realistic dialogue, and then direct the actors to bring the script to life with beautifully comfortable and naturalistic performances.  The way in which Max embodies the deafening monotony of unemployment, and how Max and Antonia recreate the cloudy irrationality of a couples argument are both uncomfortably authentic.  As the narrative moves towards its troubling conclusion, both of the characters elicit sympathy and disdain from the audience in equal parts – the sign of a successful an engaging drama.

This is a film about intimacy, sex and power, and the overwhelming stress that career status (and symbolism) can have on relationships.  Both Antonia’s success in The City and Max’s inability to land roles on the stage have creeping, yet profound, implications for the stability of their emerging relationship – a dynamic that will be familiar to a British audience as obsessed as we are to notions of class.

The best of British cinema has always been able to peer through the window into fractious domestic relationships and reveal a subtle reflection of the state-of-the-nation.  Underneath the plot of scheming and sex, Love / Me / Do manages to comment on multiculturalism, capitalism and social mobility in Cameron’s Britain.  Antonia’s claustrophobic apartment mirrors London’s growing hostility and the montage over the closing credits is a chilling metaphor for the capitals future.

Love/Me/Do is playing at this year’s Raindance.  More details here

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