A few weeks back young Edinburgh director Marc Dall invited me along to the Cameo to see his zero (sorry, £3000) budget movie, The Aware. this site’s first premiere! Exciting stuff and it’s perhaps apt that a zero (sorry, minus zero) budget blog gets invited to something like this. There’s no Leicester Square, tuxedo only, red carpet event for itsonitsgone.com. Yet.
The film opens somewhere in the outskirts of Edinburgh, as Gary (Mads Koudal) contemplates a return to the city after a few days camping. Quiet, contemplative and expansive, this is the last time we’ll get a real sense of normality in the film, just before Gary discovers a dead body clutching a tape recorder on the way home.
From here claustrophobia kicks in, along with some confusion as to what’s going on, both in Gary’s mind and around him. There’s a brief suggestion that there’s been some sort of emotional upset in his recent past but this thread of the plot, which seems to offer some of the reasoning behind his actions, trails away and things get a little murky hereon in.
The introduction of Gary’s friend is a sign of a buddy movie in the making, but this is not to be. The friend’s removal soon after means Gary has nobody to speak to, his thoughts staying firmly within his head.
This is a bit of a problem for the audience as their identification figure starts to say and do things that they really can’t identify with. Why, for example, does he not listen to all the tapes in one go, rather than in fits and starts?
The feeling of claustrophobia is acute, the sounds and visuals lending well to Gary’s growing confusion, and it’s perhaps in this that the film succeeds most. Had this been an out-and-out horror flick, and there are some hints that this is where things are heading, then this would have been the perfect introduction to the impending disaster.
Sadly the film stops short of becoming an Evil Dead for the noughties and swerves away into the realms of dodgy science and the mundanity of drug culture.
The last 20 minutes go a long way to redeem the picture, with hallucinations and a nicely played flashback explaining some of the reasons for Gary’s situation. My own feeling is that having this scene placed nearer the start, or weaved in and out of the ongoing narrative, may have been a wiser move.
I was left feeling I’d seen a rough-cut of a promising film that has yet to completely find its feet. I hope Dall gets the chance to tweak some rough edges before it gets a wider audience outside Edinburgh.
In the meantime I’m going to email the chaps at the Odeon Leicester Square and see where my tickets to the next multi-million pound blockbuster are. You never know, Marc Dall could be directing them in a few years time.
The Aware is yet to find a distributor, but you can find out more over at www.theawaremovie.com. Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes of the film in the company of Marc Dall: