Daniel Wolfe, best known for his work as a producer of music videos (the most famous being his collaboration with The Shoes), presents a tense thriller, troubled and troubling, impregnated by an almost surreal aura, aesthetically pop, despite the dark and somewhat decadent tones of the desolate moors of the North of England.
Seventeen year-old Laila (the sensational Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) runs away from home to live with her boyfriend Aaron (Conor McCarron) in a caravan on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. Her family categorically reject the situation and decide to resolve the problem with violence. Laila and Aaron are forced to flee from their tormentors, in a desperate flight where family ties are transformed into imprisonment, where the desire for revenge dominates every emotion. Daniel Wolfe knows how to play skilfully with the ambiguity, irony and paradox of an absurd mentality that can transform affection into hate.
Laila and Aaron live a relatively happy, almost carefree, life amidst the smoke of marijuana and rock music. The scene in which they dance in their caravan to the voice of Patti Smith (Horses) is memorable and makes the arrival of the butchers even more violent. Wolfe knows how to tailor a musical score which has mysterious and hypnotic rhythms (the song by Exuma that accompanies the end credits is a true gem) to the claustrophobic setting that exudes violence. This bitter-sweet atmosphere is underlined even more by the heroine’s appearance: a sort of underground goddess with pink hair framing a face with enigmatic Asian features. The fascination of the film derives from the opposition between an adult world, founded on honour and violence, and the exoticism of an adolescent world that is apparently naive. Their life is clearly not idyllic, but it possesses a dose of innocence that makes the film incredibly gripping and exquisitely ambiguous.
Thanks also to the magnificent cinematography by the now legendary Robbie Ryan, Daniel Wolfe films the Yorkshire moors as if they were a sanctuary, a fairytale place despite images that are sometimes decaying and murky, and the murderous plot that awaits the two protagonists. The film opens on a foggy landscape, accompanied by a young voice with an unmistakable accent (from the North of England) reading a poem by Ted Hughes, as if everything were under the spell of a charm, between dream and reality. A first film that is full of promise, fascinating and venomous. A director to follow closely.