Love hurts – ★★★★
Liverpool born author Niall Griffiths penned Kelly + Victor back in 2002 and Welshman Kieran Evans has finally now brought it to the big screen. It’s violent, intense, unflinching, engrossing and mesmerising in trying to grasp the intensity of a very adult bond. Roy Orbison’s “Love Hurts” could be a soundtrack to the film and I thought of another film that incorporated an Orbison song; David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
Our two star-crossed lovers Kelly (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) and Victor (Julian Morris) meet on the night of Victor’s birthday and the spark is lit. Through a combination of drink, drugs and erotic asphyxiation they become bound together in an almost transcendental relationship. Kelly is the instigator of the BDSM and it becomes clear that she has yet to deal with some previous unpleasantness in her life. Victor is a willing participant up until a point and is unsure how to deal with his feelings as he becomes increasingly addicted to Kelly. Antonia is fantastic in playing both the dominant and wounded party and Morris equally excels as the besotted lover, afraid and intrigued. On a side note Morris must be a shoe in for Alex Turner if they ever decide to do a film about the Arctic Monkeys.
Evans follows the indie film-makers handbook, artsy nature shots, out of focus shots, voices whispering off camera, long ponderous looks and a questionable ending. Where he detours is the depiction of the romance, this is not a kooky boy meets girlie love story. It is weighed down in an intense realism that leaves you in no doubt of the main players’ feelings for one another. His use of music heightens the tension and emotion leaving you reeling, unable to glance at the screen but somehow transfixed.
The film has the feel of 2011’s Tyrannosaur and 2006’s Red Road in that it doesn’t shy away from the complexity of human emotions. I’d happily wager this film has more feeling and scrutiny than any of the “50 Shades” nonsense that will be soon unleashed upon us.
Released in Ireland on the 20th of September, showing in the IFI and sporadically in the Lighthouse Cinema