We received an invite to the world premier of this new British Indie movie in Leicester Square. Sure it was only the Prince Charles but out of acorns… The film looked intriguing and it would have been rude not to go and see it and soak in the atmosphere with cast, crew and friends. The movie had intrigued as it was billed as a science fiction film set around the world of body modifications and looking into things it was being done by a first time director and a cast of who many were in their first role.
The story begins in a nightclub setting and indeed that is where it remains for the duration of the film. We are gradually introduced to various characters such as club owner West, his flirtatious partner Day and bar manager Fox. We begin to discover that this is no normal club but an underground hang out where all the movers and shakers of the body modification scene hang out. These implants are found mainly on the back of the neck and pretty much tune you in to a whole virtual world where you can have any information you desire and even be the king of your own castle and live in a fantasy world of your own making. Of course this is not without danger as we discover. Not everyone gets things done professionally and safely and outside unscrupulous types are praying upon the needy and giving them cut price back alley hatchet jobs that scramble the senses in more ways than one. Also there is the problem of addiction as you would expect with any high and people can come to rely on this virtual world too much and leave the real one behind (yep just like computer game addicts) and become zombie like ‘grinning corpses.
Enter Kerr a man on a mission. He used to hang out around here and disappeared with his addicted girl friend Cole to try and leave the scene behind, moving toNew York(a place we are led to believe is just as bad). Cole has run off and is suspected to be with another shady character Shaw, arch nemesis of Alden who along with him kind of invented the whole body mod set up in the first place. As characters all gather you just know that the shit is going to hit the fan and the whole thing is going to come crashing to a head.
The film is very dark and I mean that in more ways than one. The club setting is stark and minimalist, the punters and cast are clad in black as is the interior. Dry ice wafts around and techno beats fill in the empty spaces. There is a very chic and gothic noir look to the film. It is not action packed either and it is incredibly heavy on the dialogue, each scene long, protracted but well thought out and it really involves the viewer dragging them into the story. It is full of ego, and a fair bit of testosterone, there is one sex scene and minimal violence. The whole thing plays out very theatrically and to be honest I could see this working quite well on the stage as well as it did as a film. There is a lot of PVC on show and I wondered if this was a club that let ugly people in as to be honest the cast was all pretty good eye candy; Fox and Cole being particularly attractive and captivating in their scenes.
Obviously the one thing missing was a glimpse into the modified world. It would have been nice but obvious budget limitations would have made it impossible. I am sure that we have all seen enough to imagine what it was like and I kept thinking of the body horror of David Cronenberg specifically eXitenZ as a reference point. The cyberpunk and body mod ideas pervade popular culture and other reference points that very much were at the forefront of my mind included the books of China Mieville and Jeff Noon as well as the aforementioned Cronenberg whose Scanners could have played a part if the team had the effects budget to pull off something like it during the films power struggles.
As is expected sometimes the acting is a bit dodgy and the fight scenes were far from Hollywood choreographed but that added to the charm of things. This was obviously a group of people together and enjoying themselves but with a good story to tell and a way to do it as professionally as limited skills allowed. At the end of the day the few laughs the film got for slight lack of talent and the odd line that was a groaner added to the enjoyment.
I think quite a few of the people involved behind this dark production have a bright future in front of them. Check the links for details on how to see the film.