Footsteps Movie Review
Review Written by Daniel Benson
Released by Random Films
Written and directed by Gareth Evans
2006, 77 Minutes, Not rated
Nicholas Bool as Andrew
Mads Koudal as Paul
Jared Morgan as The Cameraman
Emma Powell as Sera
Solitaire Mouneimne as Michelle
Richard Jones as Dean
Sarah Lloyd as the Stepmum
Steven Grey as Larry
Footsteps follows a young guy named Andrew (Nicholas Bool). His life is a mess, his parents are dead, he just got sacked from his job and his girlfriend doesn’t want to speak to him. One night, after a heavy drinking session, he gets into a fight and is left unconscious in a pedestrian underpass. A shadowy figure, who we will come to know only as The Cameraman, approaches Andrew with a companion. As The Cameraman films, Andrew is subjected to a vicious beating by the other man.
The fact he takes the beating, almost without flinching, seems to impress the amateur filmmaker and Andrew is taken under the wing of his organisation. An organisation that deals in misery and suffering.
Is it the catharsis that Andrew has been looking for?
Or is life about to get a whole lot worse?
Looking at the website, it’s difficult to fathom what genre Footsteps is supposed to fall into. Horror? Thriller? Underworld snuff docu-drama? That becomes irrelevant when you watch it, because this film will sucker punch you into a heap on the floor, and when you’ve caught your breath, stab you in the eye.
Gareth Evans’ debut feature is set against the backdrop of the gritty underbellies of several Welsh towns and cities, and it looks superb. For a DV shot feature, you can easily forget the medium as the cinematography relates the bleak atmosphere to the viewer.
This is not a wordy film by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s at least 15 minutes into the film when someone utters the first word. I had thought this was perhaps to cover inadequacies in the cast, but as time rolls on it becomes evident that this is not the case. For a first time, independent production the acting is, across the board, brilliant. Bool is superb as Andrew, and although he doesn’t have too many lines, his screen presence is unarguable, showing a seething pit of angst and despair at his core. Playing opposite him is Mads Koudal as Paul, the seasoned gangster to Andrew’s rookie. Paul is calm and almost charming on the surface, yet inside he is a tightly wound psycho ready to snap. And, boy, does he.
Many of the plot points are put across by flashback scenes or simply by ‘show and tell’ that puts a great deal of the interpretation onto the viewer. While this causes some unsettling ambiguity for the glimpses of things you see, it can also be a little confusing. For instance, at the beginning of the film, we are shown a man lying in hospital. He is obviously someone close to Andrew, but it’s not immediately clear who he is. It becomes clear later on (it’s his father), but the time spent wondering about it detracts slightly from your concentration on the film.
Minor confusion aside, this is one of the most professionally polished debut features I’ve ever seen. Gareth Evans has created an unrelenting powerhouse of a movie that grabs the viewer by the throat and doesn’t let up until the final, climactic scenes.
Audio, video and special features not rated as this was a screener disc