Wednesday, July 18, 2018

First love gets a second time around in Warren B. Malone's Brit rom-com, ACROSS THE RIVER

Random Media has come up with a number of interesting little films of late, several of which have been covered here at TrustMovies.

The company's latest addition, ACROSS THE RIVER, is yet another enjoyable piece of cinema that is small-scale but well enough directed, written and acted to qualify as a success and good enough to be placed on the "watch-it" list of those viewers who appreciate independent cinema, no matter the country of origin (in this case, it's Britain).

The writer/director is a fellow named Warren B. Malone (shown at left), whose first full-length feature this appears to be, after having made a few short films. Even then, Across the River is only 75 minutes long -- which proves just enough to grab us and keep us interested for the day that our two ex-lovers, who've "met cute" after maybe a decade apart, spend slowly and haltingly discovering who each other have since become.

The river in question is London's Thames, and the two folk who need to cross it -- there are various work stoppages going on which make it difficult to get either the tube or a taxi --

are ex-lovers Ryan (played by Keir Charles, above) and Emma (Elizabeth Healey, below). Mr. Charles is particularly good: full of low-key charisma and the kind of slightly goofy quality that can be quite sexy when it is also easy-going and never pushy. Ms Healey, on the other hand, has the more difficult role of the tight-ass, professional woman who must slowly unburden herself of both inhibitions and history. But she is attractive and very good at keeping her feelings close to the vest.

The movie's "re-meet cute" situation proves a tad manipulative, what with a flashback and an awfully coincidental dropping of a cell phone, but once we get past the first few minutes, and Ryan and Emma have properly reunited (even if only to grumble and argue for awhile), the movie springs quietly to life and we're off and running.

How and why these two knew each other and what happened to them leeches slowly from the screenplay, and the two actors (who are credited as screenwriters, in addition to Mr. Malone) perform with enough improvisational style that we easily buy into their relationship -- both then and now.

And if the movie relies a bit too much on the usual small talk -- of the paint job on the Houses of Parliament and the look of the popular London Planetree -- which is often overpowered into silence by the (also low-key) musical score, the filmmaker at least knows where he is going and how to get us there.

In its last 20 minutes or so, the movie rises to its own occasion and  -- interestingly enough, once our couple has again been separated -- actually becomes more intense, funny, charming and propulsive. The film's ending, in fact, is even rather moving. In all, this is 75 minutes of British not-quite-rom-com slice of life that proves worth experiencing.

From Random Media, Across the River made its worldwide debut via Digital, DVD and VOD yesterday, July 17 -- for purchase and/or rental.

No comments: