Directed by Lewis Clements
When it came to creating his final piece of work for his university course, Lewis Clements decided to create a short film - his second following a debut project that screened at a number of festivals around the US and Canada.
Eviction follows Nigel Grimshaw and Luke Fox, two debt collectors who go about their day-to-day business, which quite often involves evicting tenants who cannot afford to pay their dues. However, little do they know that they are soon to evict a tenant with a very dark past.
The film was inspired by the TV series, 'Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!', which follows a group of the country’s most experienced High Court sheriffs as they travel around enforcing writs and repossessing whatever they have to in order to pay off the debts that people have built up. After seeing this show, Clement thought it would be interesting to turn the tables and have the tenant turn on the debt collector.
Eviction makes you think on a few different levels. First, there were a lot of red herrings thrown into the mix throughout the film that made you expect the story would head in one direction one second, but it soon actually goes elsewhere. I liked this element and whilst I won't spoil the film, there are parts that hint at the end-game for the film. Ultimately it's best I say no more as if you know this I don’t think you can quite appreciate some of the other moments and how effective they really are at throwing you off the scent.
Eviction also makes the audience seriously consider the people who actually do this job. When we watch shows like Can’t Pay, I don’t think it's really considered about the potential repercussions some evictions carry with them. Quite often people are forced to think about those who get evicted from their homes, but the guys who just have to do this job don’t ever seem to get spared a second thought, at least I haven’t done so on the occasions I’ve watched.
So the film becomes a thought provoking piece that makes you take a minute to take stock of how these things affect the day to day lives of everyone involved, and it’s always a powerful thing when a short can achieve that.
The film did a good job of portraying the debt collectors here as real people with real problems, which is easy to forget when you see them evicting tenants from their homes. In this case, the character of Nigel was massively humanised, and didn’t particularly enjoy his job, but was doing it simply because he had bills to pay. Again, in terms of defending these enforcers, it’s an important thing to bear in mind what their personal circumstances are.
Clements made the decision to set the atmosphere for this film using grime music (I hope that’s right anyway), and I think it was the perfect backdrop given the subject matter being dealt with. When you look at the history of grime, there are some major similarities to some of the themes in this film, and seeing as Clements wanted to ensure that the project had a super British film in order to properly celebrate cinema in this country, I think it was a perfect fit.
All in all, Eviction is a film that really makes you take in the bigger picture surrounding a very interesting subject. There are a lot of elements that it makes you seriously consider, and whilst having some pretty dark themes, it does manage to remain entertaining through the changes of pace and direction that happen almost constantly throughout. Definitely worth a gander if you’ve got the time to spare.