Midlands Review - Wasted
By midlandsmovies, Jun 29 2018 11:56AM
Directed by Lee Price. Homebird Films
We open on old home video footage of a young man in local filmmaker Lee Price’s new feature Wasted, made by his Homebird Films production company.
Having previously co-directed the great Neville Rumble, Price delivers Wasted as a follow to his last film Frettin’. That film was a musical odyssey made in Hinckley and Nuneaton which had a nomad-like story of a wandering guitar player and the slice-of-life scrapes he gets into and Price tackles similar themes in Wasted also.
We soon quickly jump to a young homeless man called John (George Welton) who is shown down on his luck on the streets, drinking his days away in city centres and alleys. Slowly revealing the struggles he faces, Price delivers good musical score choices which compliment John’s loneliness and isolation as he tries to find food and scraps to survive.
10 minutes in though and we have very little narrative, in what I assumed was a much more art-house film style. John’s actions show what he is up against but unfortunately shine very little light on the character. John’s selfish actions garnered little sympathy from me which became a problem later on as he is almost the sole character for the entire film.
As he gets caught breaking and entering, hoping to get revenge on those he feels have wronged him, we get some passable fight scenes but these are too thinly spread throughout the film which relies heavily on long, esoteric dreamy shots of John’s world with only a tiny amount of development.
On a technical level, the film looks good with high production values I could find little fault with. Wasted was filled with well composed shots, understandable editing and some Suspiria-inspired red/green lighting which gave the film a horror vibe at a number of points during the movie.
Sadly though, despite these positives, little of consequence really happens at all. There is almost no dialogue in its entire runtime and the few lines that are uttered are simply delivered by almost anonymous characters telling John to “eff off”. In one scene, our central character is spinning around aimlessly in a town centre with no apparent meaning or coordination – a metaphor if you will for the film’s somewhat haphazard construction.
In my review Frettin’ I mentioned the lack of narrative when compared to the film’s extended length, and found a similar absence here. John stares into a mirror, John gets drunk and John gets accosted by members of the public as a “weirdo” or “ratboy”. These types of sequences are repeated over and over again but do not enlighten the audience about this person and their journey. The repetition soon became frustrating.
George Welton is good as John who despite not being given much dialogue to work with, expresses what he can with subtle (and not so subtle) scenes of introspection and degradation. As an almost silent mood piece it would work as a 20-minute short but at 1 hour 30 minutes for me it was too long – disappointing considering the director’s previous films. Scene after scene of drunken recollections and/or getting confronted by various passing characters simply failed to engage me fully. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that if you added the first ten mins to the last the last ten mins and cut the entire middle you'd essentially have the same story.
With high expectations and for all the excellent techincal quality, I therefore feel it's a shame then that the film ended up being a slightly wasted opportunity to show a man at the end of his tether and battling his demons.
Midlands Movies Mike