MOVIE REVIEW: ELETRICITY / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: BRYN HIGGINS / SCREENPLAY: JOE FISHER / STARRING: AGYNESS DEYN, LENORA CRICHLOW, CHRISTIAN COOKE, PAUL ANDERSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Adapted from a novel by Ray Robinson, with an excellent screenplay by Joe Fisher, Electricity is the story about a young woman, Lily O’ Connor (Deyn), working as a casino cashier in a northern seaside town, who has a problematic family past and is struggling to cope with epilepsy, which was caused by her abusive mother. One day, her mother dies and her house is going to be sold, so Lily decides to split the proceedings with her long-lost brother, who she decides to travel to London to find, resulting in a descent into a harsh and violent world.
On the one hand, the story is very straightforward with a girl who’s out of her depth in the mean streets of London looking for her brother and meeting these different characters along the way, and during the course of this, her life is interrupted by these trippy hallucinatory sequences. These sequences are completely surreal and electrifying displays of art, showing us a distorted portrait of what might be happening in Lily’s world, and Si Bell’s cinematography is completely sublime and some of the best seen this year in cinema.
What’s remarkable is that the film does a very solid job of positioning you inside the head of Lily, making us understand and connect with her struggles, her quest, and her ultimate desire to find her long-lost brother. Also, you do feel the pain she’s going through throughout the film, making you feel the cuts and bruises she receives when experiencing these seizures. But ultimately, you completely understand her experience of the world as seen from someone stricken with the plights of epilepsy, and apparently the filmmakers received significant and creative input from the epilepsy society when making the movie, and that produces rewarding results.
At the heart of the film is a terrifically solid and heartfelt performance by rising star Agyness Deyn, displaying full-on real emotion that is very tender yet powerful and raw, which it needs to be in order to reflect its subject matter. The film itself has a got a very passionate, gentle, and sympathetic heart and soul, with debut director Bryn Higgins understanding the world in an honest and believable way that would draw the audience in.
There are some slight narrative issues, but those niggles didn’t detract from what is an emotional and hypnotic experience with very solid direction and writing, beautiful cinematography, and a terrific standout performance by Agyness Deyn, who will no doubt have a very successful acting career ahead of her. Electricity is one of the biggest surprises of 2014 and brilliant counterprogramming at around Christmas.
Expecting Rating: 8 out of 10
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