A perceptive study of human relationships from a writer/director of immense promise.




Hinterland was released in Britain in February 2015 – just. If you blinked, you would have missed it and, indeed, it was ignored by most of our critics. That was not what it deserved because this ambitious, poetic film by Harry Macqueen stood out from the British fodder that so often introduces us to our new filmmakers. It is the case that the film is to all intents and purposes a two-hander, but it is nevertheless right to call it ambitious. Not only does Macqueen play one of the lead roles himself (the other is taken by Lori Campbell) but he has set out to eschew violence totally, to play down dramatic emphasis and to risk the absence of anything that could be a called a strong plot.

What Macqueen gives us instead is a portrayal of the interaction between his two main characters, both in their twenties, as they drive out of London for a weekend in Cornwall. These two are Harvey and Lola. As we watch them we are invited to consider the need that almost all of us have to share our lives with somebody. Lola is emerging from a relationship in America that has broken up and Harvey – be he a former lover of hers who has remained a friend, or else a brother – is there to give her the companionship she requires, something that can be more valuable than a sexual relationship. Their rapport is expressed in silence as well as in words, and it leads Lola to the point at which she must decide if her bad experience in America should encourage her to strike out on her own or whether the need to share means that she must have the courage to find a new love.

I viewed Hinterland on a download which had its limitations (I missed some of the words which may explain my doubt as to the nature of the central relationship) but the quality of the work was very apparent even if some questions were left hovering. It is well acted but it is the direction that stands out: scenes in a car bring Kiarostami to mind yet this is a quiet, very English film, wholly engrossing when Lola talks of her expectations of life and relationships and when she sings a song, ‘September’, to her own guitar accompaniment. It may make one think of such filmmakers as Andrea Arnold and Joanna Hogg and it is finely photographed by Ben Hecking in colour and ’Scope, but above all Hinterland marks out Harry Macqueen as a director who has already found his own voice.  




Cast: Lori Campbell, Harry Macqueen.

Dir Harry Macqueen, Pro Harry Macqueen, Screenplay Harry Macqueen, Ph Ben Hecking, Ed Alice Petit, Music Graham Hadfield, Costumes Rosie Morris.

Inheritance Films-Inheritance Films.
81 mins. UK. 2014. Rel: 27 Febuary 2015. Cert. 15