Feature – UK / World Première
Alex Barrett / UK / 2012 / 102 min
What is it we want from films; escapism or a slice of life? Entertainment or enquiry? Catharsis or relaxation? Perhaps an amalgam of all of these in different measure. Perhaps none of the above. This is the question with which independent filmmaker Alex Barrett’s first feature, Life Just Is, opens – and which maybe should have been ruminated just a little longer. In Life Just Is, a group of newly graduated friends are forced to confront the realities of the real world outside university, calling for rigorous self-assessment.
Most of the actors are reasonably competent performers, with Fiona Ryan and Jayne Wisener (the latter recognisable from Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd) being the strongest. However, an actor is only as good as their text and this is where the film seriously falters. The pursuit of realism leads to too many puerile, ‘off-the-cuff’ comments, many of which would be countered with more wit in a primary school playground, while the expositions on faith, fear and prejudice are simply a litany of platitudes. The most unbelievable strand of the plot involves the speed with which the bookish Peter’s (Jack Gordon) existential crisis makes a volte-face, resulting in him suddenly becoming a ‘Knight of faith’. Whatever it is you want from a film, you may be hard pushed to find it here.
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