British films tend to play up to stereotypes. Whether that’s the cheeky Cockney, comedy Celt or slimy spoilt public-school boy. This trend is often at its basest when it comes to regional variations. As a Yorkshireman, I feel the representation of my county on the big screen is usually dubious, at best. If we’re not unemployed, stripping steelworkers or racist bigots we’re stupid salt of the earth types. In this sense, Bill Buckhurst’s feature debut is a breath of fresh air.
The year is 1994. The setting is an ex-mining village outside of Doncaster. Down at Decoy Ponds most of the talk is about Nessie, the legendary carp. That’s where you’re likely to find Trevor (Tom Varey), who’s not sure what to do with his life. Whilst Pogo (Esme Creed-Miles) is recording everything she hears; trying to make sense of it all. Meanwhile Cassie (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Maurice (Abraham Lewis) are getting friendly in the reeds.
Whilst dealing with distressing and important subjects, Pond Life is a sweet, heartfelt and humorous look at life on the fringes. Indeed, it’s one of those films which you can really fall for as long as you buy into it. The largely unknown young cast has a wonderful chemistry. This sense of bonhomie flows throughout. Pond Life is a slowly lilting comedy drama which will surprise you with the power of its punch.
Pond Life is released on DVD by Verve Pictures on 26 August.