Tomorrow

 

starstarstar

 


An uneven but sometimes striking tale which plays out in London.

 
Tomorrow

   

We have here a film that is decidedly a mixed bag: it opens badly but then starts to work well only to wind down in a disappointing second half. Although Tomorrow is set in London, it is directed by an American, Martha Pinson, who is making her first feature after a long career in the industry in a number of capacities. Nevertheless, one is inclined to regard this as a film by Stuart Brennan and Sebastian Street since as the writers here they have created leading roles for themselves to play.

 

Tomorrow is the story of two men who meet by chance and become close friends. Street plays Tesla who is a former soldier traumatised by losing the use of his legs while fighting in Afghanistan. He is now learning to cope with life in a wheelchair. Brennan's role is that of Sky who quickly comes to play an important part in Tesla's life. First, he introduces him to Katie (Stephanie Leonidas), a girl brusquely forthright yet engaging who is drawn to Tesla regardless of his disability. Then, when Tesla and Katie seek to start up a restaurant together, it is Sky who through his contacts is able to find a potential financial backer to bring this about.

 

The misjudged opening of Tomorrow has introduced us to Tesla in quick scenes of past and present intermingled which are too clumsily done to establish him effectively as a man haunted by horrific memories of his war experiences (it helps not at all that this sequence includes a bedside photograph which appears to come to life!). But Street and Brennan play well together and even more striking is Leonidas who, now aided by a more confident screenplay, gives Katie a credible individuality which in turn makes the sometimes troubled rapport between her and Tesla genuinely involving. Meanwhile, Katie's roommate, Lee-Ann (Sophie Kennedy Clark), is keen on Sky who keeps her at a distance, but the story arc given to Sky is less compelling than that centred on Tesla.

 

As the film develops, there is much emphasis on the testing of Tesla's abilities once a Mr Charles (James Cosmo) provisionally agrees to set up the restaurant that Tesla as chef plans to run with Katie. These scenes set in a hotel kitchen are rather less individual in tone, but in any case the writing declines in quality in the film's second half (there are, for example, two instances of what could be described as plot twists both of which are in fact foreseeable while what Sky is hiding from Lee-Ann is hinted at by bouts of coughing   which only serve to prove that as writers Brennan and Street are not averse to cliché). What had promised to be a drama of some distinction does successfully continue to avoid sentimentality but it loses real conviction - and never more so than when late in the day it allows Stephen Fry to pop up in a small role. For British audiences at least Mr Fry is such a well-known personality that to give him a cameo as a fictional character invites laughter. The best parts of Tomorrow are indeed impressive and it is a film that has won awards, but its weak aspects let down what had promised to be a work far more rewarding than it finally proves to be.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Sebastian Street, Stuart Brennan, Stephanie Leonidas, Sophie Kennedy Clark, James Cosmo, Paul Kaye, Joss Stone, Will Tudor, Stephen Fry, Sarina Taylor, Janice Edgerton, Edmund Kingsley.

 

Dir Martha Pinson, Pro Stuart Brennan, Sebastian Street and Dean M. Woodford, Screenplay Stuart Brennan and Sebastian Street, Ph Darran Bragg, Pro Des Joe Barcham, Ed Gordon Grinberg, Music Jody Jenkins, Costumes Oliver Garcia.

 

Futurescope Films/Roaring Mouse Productions/Stronghold/Rodaje a la Carta-Stronghold.
92 mins. UK. 2018. Rel: 27 September 2019. Cert. 15.