Take It Back And Start All Over

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Take It Back And Start All Over
"It is this film's universality that gives it relevance - that, and a remarkable central performance from newcomer Kerri Clarence."

With the seemingly endless domination of our multiplexes by Hollywood sequels, cinema is now being subjected in earnest to the same dialogues about originality that have attended (and often stifled) other art forms ever since the Enlightenment, so let me say first that there is absolutely nothing original about the story or themes of Scottish independent filmmaker Neil Rolland's latest work. Whether or not it's any good, however, is an entirely separate question. Stories like the one it tells happen ever day, all around the world, hinging on problems that remain difficult to solve. It is this film's universality that gives it relevance - that, and a remarkable central performance from newcomer Kerri Clarence.

Clarence plays Jennie, living with her unemployed husband, working nights in a bar so they can make ends meet, still adjusting to motherhood. Doors seem to keep closing on her, shutting off the routes she once dreamed of taking in life. Once she was a singer-songwriter, really starting to go places. Now she doesn't even own a guitar. When a chance encounter with a self-professed former fan begins to bring the music back into her life, the weight of hope begins to crush her strained relationship.

Copy picture

Most of the action here takes place inside tenement flats or Edinburgh's Banshee Labyrinth bar (which has a long history of supporting independent film). The small sets echo the claustrophobia Jennie is feeling and enable Clarence to make the most of talents developed on the stage. Although the dialogue is sometimes a little laboured and a couple of plot points are rather crudely introduced (perhaps as result of editing restraints stemming from the brevity of the shoot), she is never less than convincing, and she gives her character a fragility and openness that makes her fascinating to watch. In support, Rolland himself does a solid job as troubled husband Brian, making him sympathetic despite his several failings. Kyle Titterton, as the stranger, isn't quite as strong, but the sense of distance this creates suits the story in many ways and keeps the focus where it ought to be, on Jennie's dilemma and growing sense of herself.

With a soundtrack significantly better than in most low budget films, Take It Back And Start All Over, which was made for just £1,000, is an impressive first feature deserving of serious attention, and casting directors should be keeping a serious eye on Clarence.

Reviewed on: 04 Mar 2015
Share this with others on...
A former musician struggles with the banality of the life she has found herself living.

Festivals:

EastEnd 2015

Search database: