The Knife That Killed Me. (out today 27th April!! See link below to Amazon)
Although I love film I am not prone to writing film reviews as my professional time is taken up writing for the theatre. In the case of the film The Knife That Killed Me, written and directed by Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman I make a huge exception. I interviewed Marcus Romer and some of Pilot Theatre's cast for the touring production of Antigone earlier this year and reviewed the play at its launch at Derby Theatre. Intrigued by the green screen work and other media used in Antigone I was very keen to see what they have done with Anthony McGowan's novel The Knife That Killed Me.
The Knife That KilledMe is destined to become a cult classic – big time. The dark story of teenager Paul (Jack McMullen) and his haulage driver dad (Reece Dinsdale) arriving at a new home in Yorkshire after the accidental death of Paul's mother is discovered through a moving collage of Graphic Novel intensity. This is no ordinary teenage angst story but a knife wielding bloody symphony of startling imagery with the dark brooding clouds of wintry adversary always on the bleak Yorkshire horizon. If the director ever said “cut” in the filming process I for one would have stood well back.
The production values are exceptionally high and cleverly wrought taking the viewer through transparent sets lined with hand written text and graffiti. The result is a kind of magical hell. The attention to detail in every frame is phenomenal. Cameras swirl through many a creative angle to switch from gritty location to gritty location and the pot smoking scene with Paul's school friend Shane (Oliver Lee) is pure genius as the smoke rises up and up through the roof of a house depicted in a simple line drawing white on black.
The Acheronian world of the dangerous teenage gangs and their cronies is the main theme throughout coupled with the confusions of teenage love and deliberate lies woven by kids at the school to protect, survive and to deliberately deceive. Actor Jamie Shelton exudes quiet menace as gang leader Roth. On the opposite side of the bleak housing estate resides Goddo played with 'dressed to kill' revengeful swagger by Charles Mnene. This is a scary young man who delights in beating up the vulnerable but is sensitive about his dead dog. Theatrical joke alert. No-one would want to hanging around the playground waiting for this Goddo.
The hero Paul who speaks regularly about 'The Knife That Killed Me' is played with great understatement by Jack McMullen and his desperate story of just wanting to be accepted/loved must resonate with us all, teenagers or adults. The scene where he physically and verbally attacks his father is universal and ends with a cruel irony.
The film leads us into many a dark corner, has a superbly actualised gang fight and a brilliant twist in the telling which is very hard to predict. No spoilers in this review. I found this intelligent film utterly compelling at a cinema preview. It is dark, has a savage hypnotic humour, is visually unique and when it is released on DVD (27th April) I predict it will be racing up the charts to No1.
Lastly, I watch a lot of film and The Knife That Killed Me is the best British film I have seen in years. Equally to be lauded are the wealth of young acting talent in the cast and the directorship of Marcus Romer.