Writer-director Scott Graham paints another picture of Scottish life on the downside.



Mark Stanley 


This is Scott Graham’s third feature and, like the first two, is set in the north of Scotland where life itself seems pretty bleak. Shell (2013) concerned the loneliness of a young girl working at a remote petrol station while caring for her decrepit father; Iona (2015) had a mother and her teenage son fleeing to Holy Island to escape a traumatic criminal incident; now in Run (2019) a former racing car enthusiast turned fish packer goes on a speeding spree by hightailing it in his own son’s car.
The film is set in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, a place in north Scotland where there is very little to keep the young interested in living, apart from drag racing by night. Finnie (Mark Stanley) was once a speed freak but now spends his working life gutting the day’s catch in a local fish factory. He and his wife Katie (Amy Manson) may once have had plans to move on, but they went nowhere. Their son Kid (Anders Hayward) has been dumped by his pregnant girlfriend Kelly (Marli Siu) and also fired from his job at the factory. To cap it all, Finnie’s car has conked out. Life’s a bitch all round, especially for this desperately dysfunctional family.
On a whim or just out of frustration, Finnie grabs the keys to Kid’s car and heads off in an effort to relive the nocturnal excitement of his youth. The exhilaration that follows is just what Finnie needs and for a while he begins to enjoy himself by experiencing perhaps for the last time what the rush of his joyriding days were all about. There is a possible double meaning in the film’s title. Just as Shell was the name of the girl involved and also the sign over her garage, and Iona was the mother and also her place of birth, so Run could refer either to a speeding car or the wish to get the hell out of a terrible life.


The film is mostly shot in the dark and moves depressingly slowly with only the racing sequence to light up the screen spectacularly. Graham evinces admirable performances from his cast who give very naturalistic and at times heartbreaking accounts of lives lived on the edge. At this rate Scott Graham could well become Scotland’s answer to Ken Loach.



Cast: Mark Stanley, Amy Manson, Marli Siu, Anders Hayward, Scott Murray, Lisa Livingstone, Mark Wood, Euan Stamper, Alexander Mercury, Stuart Murison, Douglas Russell. 


Dir Scott Graham, Pro Clare Barry, Rosie Crerar and Margaret Matheson, Screenplay Scott Graham, Ph Simon Tisdall, Pro Des Andy Drummond, Ed David Arthur, Music Supervisor Phil Canning, Costumes Rebecca Gore.


BBC Films/BFI Film Fund/Barry Crerar/Bard Entertainments-Verve Pictures.
78 mins. UK. 2019. Rel: 13 March 2020. Cert. 15.