Hard Tide

 

starstarstar



There’s youthful promise in this off-beat crime story set in Margate and shot in ’Scope.

 

Hard Tide

 
The work of new British directors tends to fall into one or other of two categories: on the one hand you have the filmmakers with something new and adventurous to say, such as Stephen Fingleton (The Survivalist), Harry Macqueen (Hinterland) and Guy Myhill (The Goob), and on the other hand there are those who opt for a genre work as instanced by the many debuts that tried to emulate the popularity of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). But Hard Tide, a first feature by Robert Osman and Nathanael Wiseman who share both writing and directing credits, lies somewhere between the two.

 

This is a film about youngsters caught up in criminality, a world of drug dealers with a local Mr Big in the form of an ex-cop turned psycho. Less typically, it is based on true events (albeit shifted from a French setting to Margate) and this gives the movie an original plot-line. It finds the central character, Jake, played by Wiseman himself, seeking to turn his back on this milieu but at the same time being in a situation in which he feels that he has to protect a 9-year-old girl, Jade (Alexandra Newick) following the accidental death of her father. However, Jake’s friend Alfie (Oliver Stark) sees things differently and Mr Big seems determined to have Jake work for him.

 

As can so easily be the case with newcomers, it is the writing that is the weak point here. The emphasis on strong language at the start may feel authentic, but it rather gets in the way of making the characters interesting from the outset. In that respect things improve, but Mr Big is a stereotypical villain and, worse still, in allowing themselves a free hand in embroidering the tale’s real-life basis, Wiseman and Osman have come up with a  climax which, even had it been presented with Hollywood panache, would still have seemed totally contrived and unpersuasive. It’s also the case that the players are sometimes strained: Stark has one big scene outside his range, Wiseman copes better but has one uneasy moment and young Alexandra Newick, going for it with a will, sometimes pushes rather too hard.

 

If, despite these weaknesses, there is pleasure to be had from Hard Tide, it is because the direction, aided by the photography of Joseph Mannion, conveys the excitement and pleasure of youngsters seizing the chance to make a movie. Be it the movement of the camera or the building up of a montage, one finds here a welcome sense of exhilaration only possible when people love what they are doing.

        

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Nathanael Wiseman, Alexandra Newick, Mem Ferda, Oliver Stark, Katarina Gellin, Andy Lucas, Ralph Brown, Beverley Hills.


Dir and Screenplay Robert Osman and Nathanael Wiseman, Pro Katarina Gellin and Wiseman, Ph Joseph Mannion, Pro Des Justine Cullen, Ed P. J. Harling, Music Si Begg, Costumes Chloe Heatley.


Redeeming Features-Metrodome Distribution.
90 mins. UK. 2015. Rel: 29 April 2016. Cert.
15.