(Richard Aoyade, 2010)
The first act is excellent; whipping by in an ostentatiously-directed blur of title cards, freeze frames, montages and jump-cuts, it feels very much like a debutant filmmaker indulging himself, and it's done with such brio and enthusiasm it can't help but charm. The debts to the Nouvelle Vague (L' enfance Nue and The 400 Blows in particular) are pronounced, as is the influence of a certain brand of quirkily deadpan American indie cinema (most obviously and damagingly Wes Anderson's superb Rushmore). All of this is suited to a coming of age tale of a young man in South Wales falling in love with a strange girl, and Aoyade has a fine eye and establishes a terrifically pungent sense of place early on.
But then the plot kicks in, involving parental marital difficulties and the New Age Guru who moves in next door, and despite fine comic turns from Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine, sporting an immortal combination of mullet and Mohawk, it all runs somewhat out of steam as that early energy dissipates. The Alex Turner songs on the soundtrack, while splendid in their own right, are a little too on the nose and trite in the context of the film, but the biggest problem here is that it's the kind of comedy which makes you smile but rarely laugh. Still, Aoyade conjures up some moments of genuine visual poetry, and is clearly a young filmmaker worth keeping an eye on.