Midlands Review - Thursday
By midlandsmovies, Aug 24 2018 07:23AM
Directed by Glenn McAllen-Finney
GM Finney Productions
Opening with a tied up and handcuffed female covered in blood, Thursday, the new film from Glenn McAllen-Finney, throws the audience straight into scenes of scary violence and life or death terror in this new Midlands crime drama.
With the use of a handheld camera technique and washed out colour palette, a mysterious man torments his captive with a monologue of evil intentions. And given her situation, it’s not long before fists are flying as she defies his demands not to scream in an attempt to escape. But how did these people get here and what are the enigmatic numbers he is demanding from his hostage?
Not shying from brutal scenes, Thursday concerns itself with Jade (played by Kelly McCormack) who is interrogated about an unknown set of secret numbers believed to be received from her deceased father. We are told these are needed in order to open a case with important company documents. Recalling the Tom Berenger/Cillian Murphy scene from Inception (movie-geek here knows them as 528491) this film may also be harking back to that movie with its use of an expressive orchestral score.
Although this is a nice change of musical tone for a local film and attempts to give the short some gravitas, it unfortunately sometimes moves scenes into melodrama. At more than one point, it overpowers the interesting conflicts which also may be down to a slightly muddled sound mix, and drowns out the all-important dialogue.
The tormentor however is played with spiteful malice by Sam Winterton who delivers a great, if slightly sometime over-the-top, Bond-villain style performance that captures a nasty menace punctuated with loud verbal outbursts.
More Nolan influences are seen in the film’s narrative structure. Whilst opening on the cell-based conversation, the film flashes forward and backward in time. When it does, the film’s colour palette changes to a much more natural colour – twisting the traditional black-and-white style and throwing the audience out of any cinematic familiarity.
Back in the past, we see a vibrant house party which begins to explain some of the events leading to the current predicament. With the surprising return of her father to the party, he demands she takes responsibility for her life and then exits quickly leaving us intrigued as to his intentions.
Containing a very different tone and style to the director’s previous film The Rockman, McFinney-Allen has moved from cheaper b-movie sci-fi thrills with this more mature drama. And done with some flair too. Whilst the film relies a bit too heavily of dialogue exposition – story beats are unashamedly spelled out for you – the filmmaker however uses his skills to avoid low budget pitfalls to get a lot of information over in the short 20-minute runtime. And as we shuffle back to the cell, some hidden truths are uncovered before the revelation of the numbers become clear in a satisfying conclusion.
With influences from Tarantino – McCormack is literally stuck in the middle with you throughout and we see the arrival of authorities towards the film’s conclusion – as well as Christopher Nolan, the filmmaker has tried to sprinkle some style from Hollywood genre flicks into a local film. A table-turning ending leaves the short with the audience wanting more and the film certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome.
With a bevy of strong performances, a mix of genre influences from the highbrow to the sleazy, Thursday ends up being an ambitious short which, whilst not always hitting its mark, is a first-rate film from a filmmaker developing his talents into much more complex and interesting territory.