British films come in many shapes and sizes, but often don’t get the opportunity to find an audience. The ones which get major exposure tend to fall into two categories. There are the films filled with big names (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The King’s Speech, Theory of Everything etc). Or, those from a well-known director (Mike Leigh, Matthew Vaughn, Shane Meadows). Occasionally, there are unexpected hits (Pride, Kill List, Tyrannosaur), but all too often they fail to cement a spot in cinemas. Harry Macqueen’s directorial debut, Hinterland, has many flashes of talent, whilst not really working as a whole.
Childhood friends Harvey (Macqueen) and Lola (Lori Campbell) are now in their late twenties and have drifted apart. Lola arrives back in the UK and the pair decide to meet up and take a road trip to the Cornish coast; revisiting places they spent their shared family holidays in childhood. As the pair try to rekindle the familiarity of their former close friendship, they are both struggling to find a foothold in life.
Hinterland has some beautiful and desolate cinematography. Filmed on a tiny budget, its success or failure relies heavily on the acting of the duo, as well as the script. Whilst Lori Campbell is exceptional, and to be fair has the better dialogue, Harry Macqueen’s performance isn’t good enough to hold it together. The difficulties of rekindling a lost companionship are handled well, and on occasion threaten to spill over into something else. Whilst both their crises are existential, there are some bizarre illusions to the socio-political climate (which, given they are both from comfortable backgrounds, is a bit perplexing). All in all, Hinterland is an interesting, if flawed, début.
Hinterland is in cinemas and on demand on 27 February.