Mental disorders are frequently portrayed on film. Indeed, there have been many instances of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rewarding actors for their portrayal of characters suffering from neurological illnesses. A Beautiful Mind, Silver Linings Playbook, Rain Man and As Good As it Gets all picked up awards and portrayed characters who suffered from Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder respectively. In Electricity, director Bryn Higgins does a brilliant job of illustrating what it’s like to suffer from epilepsy.
Lily ( Agyness Deyn) works in an arcade in a Northern seaside town. Her days pass in listless ordinary, daydreaming about her brother Mickey (Christian Cooke) who was taken away as a child, unless they are punctuated by epileptic seizures. She is looked after by her boss Al (Tom Georgeson), but when her mother dies she returns to the family home to re-unite with her poker-playing older brother Barry (Paul Anderson). He wants her to go to Vegas with him but she’s determined to find Mickey in London. Along the way she meets a guardian angel (Lenora Crichlow), struggles with the growing frequency and intensity of her seizures, as well as loneliness.
Electricity is an impressive film in many ways. It has a poetic quality, often slipping into more artistic ground; especially when portraying the experience of having an epileptic ‘fit’. Higgins also does a great job of giving the audience a sense of understanding about how it feels in the aftermath. Agyness Deyn is impressive. She manages to capture the inner turmoil, loneliness and struggle whilst retaining authnticity. Whilst at times it does tread very close to caricature and soap opera, Electricity is one of the best British films I’ve seen this year.
Electricity is out in cinemas on Friday.