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Chris High reviews books, movies, albums, theatre and gigs.

HALLAM FOE (18)

Starring: Jamie Bell, Claire Forlani, Ciaran Hinds, Sophia Myles
Director: David Mackenzie
Producer: Gillian Berrie
Screen Writers:  David Mackenzie & Ed Whitmore

From the novel by Peter Jinks
Running time: 96mins.
Picturehouse At FACT.

Promotional image for the movie: Hallam Foe

HALLAM FOE
Reviewed


For those of you who have been led to believe this is along the lines of Michael Powell’s 1960’s movie, Peeping Tom, be assured Jamie Bell in Hallam Foe has a very different feel to it.

Centring on the eponymous 17-year-old Hallam (Bell), who is still grieving over his dead mother some time after her suicide, the teenager begins hiding out in a tree house on his family's Highlands estate and steadily becomes ever more the eccentric loner, with a penchant for spying on people while wearing fancy dress whilst daubed in war paint.

Abnormal behaviour, to be sure, but do not be fooled; Hallam’s bright. Very bright.

As is his fixation with his mother's death and the conviction that she was murdered by his dad Julius (Hinds) and stepmother Verity (Forlani) escalates, Hallam's confrontational attitude leads him to leave home and seek a new life in Edinburgh where his behaviour gets stranger still: on his first day in the city, Hallam meets Kate (Myles) who beares a striking resemblance to his dead mother and so starts to “stalk” her.

Jamie Bell – in far cry from his role in Billy Elliot, by combining physicality and emotional depth with startling effect­ – and all the other cast members, but especially Sophia Myles, all turn in superb performances in a film that is fantastically well written, with Myles delivering the probably its best line.

Kate: Do you have anyone special, Hallam?

Halam: Yes. She’s dead.

(Pause)

Kate: I love creepy guys.

Shot with atmospheric beauty amidst the rolling Lochs and picture-postcard scenery of the Glenns of Scotland, as well as central Edinburgh, the audience can almost smell the heather and smog, with the Director conveying the city’s undlying atmosphere superbly. This, after all, is the city of ressurectionists Burke & Hare so there must be something lurking beneath the glamour, and David Mackenzie strives, and for the most part succeeds, in unveiling it.

Where the movie falls down a little is in its references to other movies. There are lots of Rear Window, Fatal Attraction, Psycho and What Lies Beneath things going on here, which do fit, but nonetheless deprive the action of surprises and so leaves the ending a little flat.

Overall though, Hallam Foe is well worth seeing and should be taken for the movie it is in its own right, rather on the hype - justified in some parts if not all – it has already received.
8/10.

Click to visit the Picturehouse at FACT website

Picturehouse at FACT opened in February 2003, as the first independent cinema
to open in Liverpool’s city centre in over a decade.

FACT, the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology. 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L14DQ
T: +44 (0)151 7074444           Email: info@fact.co.uk


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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