Big Things

Mixing the surreal of Vic and Bob’s ‘Weekenders’ and the humour of ‘Phoenix Nights’ with a dash of ‘Peep Show’ minus the inner dialogue comes ‘Big Things’ the debut feature from Mark Devenport. Filmed on location in Nottingham it tells the story of Richard a cycle currier with dreams of being a great director. Fuelled by his passion of not only making his film ‘A distance too far’ but also getting away from his mundane existence of his mad family, being picked on by a Royal Mail worker and to provide a better life for himself and girlfriend Gemma, we see Richard enlist a ragtag bunch of friends and misfits in a vein attempt to complete the production. With a script that holds as many laughs as moments of poignancy the crew set to work making the story. Richard’s producer Ray, who works at the meat factory, is you imagine just like his character in real life and is perfect companion for Richard allowing for some of the films funniest moments. Richard (played by Tony Claassen who also co-wrote) is a great lead and alongside a wealth of other characters a joy to watch. My only disappointment and its not really a criticism is that I personally think that this would have worked better as a six part television series where some of the lesser characters could be explored more, that said you get enough to not let it spoil your enjoyment of what is essentially a homage to struggling filmmakers (ironically if you knew the director you would see certain clever parallels) and traditionally a honest love story. Richard could pick his crew but not his family and eventually they become what his family can’t be, believers in his dream and the people who can make or break it. What is so special about the film is the very thing that is the essence of the plot, people coming together to make a film and doing it against the odds. The scene with the wheelie bin was apparently borrowed from another of Nottingham’s directors Shane Meadows who used the technique in his earlier works, and like Meadows before him Mark has made a film that encompasses Britishness in a way that so many others have done before Loach, Leigh, Winterbottom etc and rather than simply copy he has built on a tradition that we should be proud of. The real shame here is that I think this film has an audience it’s just finding it, I was first introduced to Shane’s work amongst others by a late night channel 4 show called the shooting gallery which showcased the work of up and coming directors but this has long since gone and left a void for people to get their work out there. Hopefully there is someone out there who will see this film for what it is and give it a chance to be the ‘first spark’ in the careers of those involved because they are talented enough to go on to bigger things.


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