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Kelly + Viktor


Rating: 4 ½ / 5

Roe McDermott, 17 Sep 2013

An uneven, though beautifully shot and acted tale of connection and self-destruction, Kelly + Victor marks the debut feature of Kieran Evans. Adapted from Niall Griffiths’ novel, Evans abandons the dual perspective of the book for a conventional love story structure – though the love story itself is anything but.

Julian Morris (E.R., 24) plays Victor, an idealistic twenty-something slacker who thinks he’s found his soul-mate in the complex and emotionally scarred Kelly (Albert Nobbs and Storage 24’s Antonia Campbell-Hughes). Unfolding slowly, with the quiet, meditative air of a mood piece, the film shows how quickly instant chemistry can reach dangerously explosive intensity.

A former music documentary director, Evans’ appreciation for striking landscapes and emotive music give the film the quality of an urban decay-chic fashion shoot.

The actors bring intelligence and tenderness to their interactions. The ever-impressive Campbell-Hughes radiates a startling emotional complexity even in near-silent scenes. As the film takes a darker turn, however, the occasionally threadbare script can undermine both the actors’ work and the sexual politics. Thus, when BDSM-based sexual explorations turn abusive, the screenplay could be seen to be presenting kink as a dangerous and punishable refuge of the damaged and depraved.

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