Set and shot in Oxford, the film is produced by Charlie Lass for Oxford Films. Co-starring Jack Ellis (Bad Girls’ Jim Fenner) and Ian Puleston-Davies (most recently John in Vincent and Travis in Funland) this is a story of a race against time to get to a mysterious woman (Britta Gartner) before she leaves the country. A failed ambush results in a tense chase across the city to the woman’s hotel where they finally corner her.
In Nigel Douglas’ own words: 'I wanted to make an "atmosphere" piece rather than an issue led short and think we have achieved this.'
I would agree wholeheartedly with this self assessment. With dialogue kept to the bare minimum, this is an extremely skilful combination of film noir elements combining to raise tension, anxiety and expectation. The camera work is superb: director of photography Sean Van Hales has achieved the classic noir look of dimly lit alleys and half-shadowed faces to evoke fear and impending violence. As an Oxford resident it is also fun to play spot the location as we move from college to pub to hotel in the atmospherically lit night time.
Tension between the two main protagonists is believably created and effortlessly sustained. By using simple devices, such as a short phone message and newspaper headline, the race against time is created – nothing like a ticking clock to raise the stakes! The relationship between Jack Ellis and Ian Puleston-Davies is clearly defined and not overplayed – we know who the real driving force is, and who has reservations about their task.
Wedded to the excellent acting and camerawork is the score by Adrian Williams. Shades of Psycho in the use of synthesised strings keep the audience in a heightened state of expectation right up to the thrilling denouement.
The film ends with several questions unanswered: who is next on their list, and why the lock of hair? Tension is thus further extended beyond the film and into ones reflections on it – surely a mark of success in any art form. The excellent editing of Nigel Cattle plays a large part in the well judged pace that contributes so much to this success.
Nigel Douglas has expressed huge gratitude to Oxford City Council for their kind cooperation which made possible the location filming so vital to this film’s production. He is also hoping to shoot a feature film in Oxford next year if funding is available.
So how can you see the film for yourself? Nigel Douglas has a goodly number of DVD copies available to interested parties. Contact can be made via his website:
I would urge you to get hold of it – it’s a little classic.