There are points in everyone’s adult life when the choices we are faced with become so overwhelming that it is difficult to know where to go next. Invariably, for a lot of us, there is comfort in looking to our past and the years of our youth, a time when life was pure and not fogged by the complexity of adult decisions, when you and your friend were the only people in the world that mattered and the relationship perfectly untouched.
Hinterland, is the directorial debut of actor Harry Macqueen (read our interview with Harry here). A take on the classic road movie genre, it’s an exploration into the gut wrenching reality of transition into adult life and the love we hold for those who link us to our past and step in to the unknown with us. Serious themes bubble under the surface of the film, but only rear their head in the films final quarter, with Macqueen devoting much of the film to painting us a beautiful imagining of the perfect weekend away with your childhood sweetheart.
When Lola (Lori Campbell – read our interview with Lori here) returns from a number of years overseas, childhood friend Harvey (Macqueen) whisks her off to a seaside town in Cornwall where much of their youth was spent together. Right from the off, and despite an underlying nervous uncertainty, the two are heartwarmingly sweet together with a clearly defined bond ever present. Aided by Macqueen’s decision to improvise the scenes with Campbell, the dialogue feels natural and the silences as much as impact as the spoken word.
As the two explore the town and trigger various memories of their childhood, invariably questions start to flood our minds as to whether there is more to this friendship. The fun had, the similarities shared and the discussions of past relationship failures, all lead to a heightened anticipation for something to happen between the two. Macqueen is not afraid to leave us is in this limbo, and goes as far as to tease us with scenes where the two share intimate spaces and the prolonged silences encourages us to anticipate – or perhaps wish – for them both to act on the feelings they harbour.
Their relationship is tangibly relatable, owed without doubt to the performances of Macqueen and Campbell. Such an investment from Macqueen however, results in a shortfall in the direction during the middle portion of the film. Naturally the pacing is slow, but whilst the performances do their best to pique our interest, the blissful imagery, melancholic soundtrack and absence of any shift in the film’s rhythm, presents a genuine slumber risk, which on the one hand is a credit to the dreamlike scenario Macqueen has created, however not ideal when you’re half way through a film.
Thankfully, Macqueen and Director of Photography, Ben Hecking bring some much needed stimulation with shot after shot of breathtaking visuals which will have you reaching for the Cornwall travel brochure. As an independent feature, this is an incredibly polished production and a solid debut from Macqueen. A film of real beauty, both visually and emotionally, Hinterland is sure to resonate with a part within all of us.
Hinterland is out in Cinemas 27th February
Harry Macqueen Interview
Lori Campbell Interview