Those who have heard of Simon Rumley in
are likely to be familiar with his work in horror anthologies above all else.
Though his psychological thriller Red,
White and Blue was met with acclaim, we have only seen installments among
many other directors since then. The last portion of Little Deaths was
Rumley’s, and one of the most tasteless sequences of The ABCs of Death also
belongs to this British filmmaker. These films were my first impression of Rumley
as a filmmaker, which is a shame. America
I would have gone ahead thinking that he was just another tasteless horror director had I not been introduced to these three independent British films. He has fallen a great deal as an artist with the increase of a budget and international acclaim, which is apparent by the fact that these three lower-than-low budget films are far more engaging. These films are dialogue heavy and solidly acted, while his latest additions to cinema have been less thought-provoking and more visceral. These three films set in 1990s
are inspired by Richard Linklater’s first three films, Slacker, Dazed and Confused
and Before Sunrise, though I found
there to be aspects of Mike Leigh’s Naked
and some of John Cassavetes’ classics.
The first film is Strong Language, which was released in 2000 and almost appears to be a documentary at first. The film is a boldly simple premise which is only completely clear in the final moments of the film, allowing for a minimal budget and some of the simplest camera set-ups you could imagine. Though there are seventeen characters in the film, none appear together on camera. The entire film is comprised of naturalistic appearing interviews, with characters discussing a seemingly random variety of topics directly to the camera. The most mysterious character tells a story as the eclectic group of young people prattle on, connected only once the story is complete. The DVD for Strong Language includes a premiere featurette and the film’s trailer.
The Truth Game (2001) is a foray into more traditional independent cinema, though it contains the same type of dialogue-heavy scenes as Strong Language. This time they are dialogues instead of monologues, and the random ignorant statements which are spoken by certain characters can now be reprimanded. Three couples in their 30s gather for a dinner party in
, discussing a
variety of topics with bold honesty while also retaining certain lies from
those they are meant to care about the most. There are many revelations
throughout the evening, involving adultery, illness and drugs. Other secrets go
unspoken. This film shows strength for dialogue in Rumley’s work, matched by a
great cast of actors (Paul Blackthorne, Tania Emery, Thomas Fisher, Selina
Giles, Stuart Laing and Wendy Wason). The DVD for The Truth Game includes a director’s commentary a premiere
The final film is Club Le Monde (2002), which is clearly the most polished filmmaking with the same well-written dialogue fueling a plot-free narrative. Club Le Monde is full of short vignettes and storylines of various characters out for an evening of drinking, drugs, sex and occasional dancing at a
club in 1993. It is easy to see a comparison between this film and Dazed and Confused. Though both take on
different places and time periods, both attempt the same immersion into the
experience through a variety of expected characters and typical conversations.
The DVD includes a director’s commentary, premiere party footage, and even a
few deleted scenes. There is also a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 7/10