Eye For Film >> Movies >> Burger Van Champion (2013) Film Review
Burger Van Champion
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
Denise can eat. She's the burger van's "Mega Mouthful Champion"; Like the fastest draw in the West, but with a quarter-pounder for a six gun. High-noon is kicking out time, the toll of the church bell the rattle of vomit on the paving stones of the pedestrian precinct. Eating isn't enough, and she finds herself in a bit of a pickle.
Denise is played by Jessie Cave, and while she might be familiar to you as Harry Potter's classmate Lavender Brown it's an early role for a clearly talented actress. She works well with her employer, veteran geezer Ricky Grover. He's been in Coming Up before, in Magic, and his mixture of well-meaning avuncular helplessness is well used here. In a world of fried onions and ketchup totalisers, he's a fitting presence. So too is Joanna Scanlan, Denise's mum. In her bed, lit by the television she's a presence that is vital to the story, a grounding presence in a styrofoam-container fairytale. Denise might work in the van, but she's got dreams, hopes, a boy she likes: Will Merrick, of Channel 4's Skins, seen by Edinburgh Film Festival goers in 2013 Mystery Movie About Time as Tom. He's charming, rubbish in that way that first crushes are meant to be, and inspiration for the big plan. Denise is going to Vegas to compete in an eating competition.
The blue skies aren't the limit, more the deeper cyan of food-service nitryl. This isn't so much gritty as greasy - the slipperiness of aspiration in everyday life, like salad falling from careless cardboard clutches. The presence of Tom Rosenthal's Woes on the soundtrack is indicator - this isn't the happiest of stories, but it's touching nonetheless.
The Coming Up scheme finds writers and directors early in their careers, and lets them play with Channel 4's excellent film-making kitchen. With technical stuff taken care of (including another good score from Coming Up stalwart Dan Parry) there's room for talent to flourish. Good performances help, indeed, it's Cave's chemistry with the rest of the cast that put flesh on the bones (or bacon on the cheeseburger?) of both script and direction, but there's technical talent there too.
It's genuinely funny, heart-warming; some beautiful little moments show a real eye for detail behind both keyboard and camera. Indeed, recursively, the film's depiction of a local newspaper's photographer seems note-perfect in both words and deeds. With a charming script by Rick Edwards and good direction by Iftekhar Gafar, Burger Van Champion is a short to relish.Reviewed on: 08 Jul 2013