Foreign John

Foreign John


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

John is a builder by trade, a conscientious one, too. The only Englishman on a site somewhere in the shadow of London, he has a desire to do the job properly which causes his foreman to ask "are you sure you're not fucking Polish?" Were he, his progressive collapse might not prove his downfall.

Johnny Harris has had a fair few roles. Parts in a variety of crime films aside, he'll be James Vane in the forthcoming Dorian Gray, and here he shows he's more than able to carry a film. As a grieving father he's distant from his wife Linda, played by Claudie Blakley with whom he also worked in London To Brighton. Her pink hedgehog slippers bear an unfair burden in the film, until John transfer his attentions to Dorota, the daughter of his foreman.

Hannah Sharp is good as the confused youngster, caught up in John's distress. She's only a part of it, though, but she's got more to do than the woodlouse that torments John into existential angst.

Director Victor Buhler works well with what, on the face of it, is a minor story, and mention should be made of the efforts of Ole Bratt Birkeland. Birkeland appears to have been director of photography for almost every film in the Coming Up programme at this year's Edinburgh Festival, and from this (and the others) it would seem he's adept at getting what his directors want onto the screen.

As is, in truth, everyone else involved - this isn't a big picture, restrained where it needs to be, always feeling genuine. Its only real weakness is in the scope of its ambition - while it appears to ably do what it sets out to, there's a real sense that it could have done a lot more.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2009
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A hardworking builder bonds with his foreman's daughter.

Director: Victor Buhler

Writer: Sean Buckley

Starring: Johnny Harris, Claudie Blakley, Robert Luckay, Hannah Sharp, Glen Davies, Johnny Harris, Claudie Blakley, Robert Luckay, Hannah Sharp, Glen Davies

Year: 2009

Runtime: 24 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2009

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