Long Distance Information

Long Distance Information


Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Have we all had to sit there with relatives we don't really know? I don't mean the ones who are total strangers, like fishermen from Aberdeen who are your Gran's sister's son's brother in law or something, they're great. Christmas, wedding or funeral we have to sit there and make awkward small talk with people we avoid for as close to 365 days a year as possible. Maybe you make an excuse not to turn up, "I can't get out of working over Christmas, my manager..." Maybe its not that you don't really know them but the distance you keep from them makes you forget that you do, another city, another country. Maybe you can keep contact down to just a phone call.

Long Distance Information depicts that phone call so well, the stilted awkwardness as you ask about things you don't care about. Its only point is to remind you why you don't communicate the miscellany of offences that make someone an arsehole.

What makes the film work so well is the performances of the actors. Alex (Alan Tripney) phones home for Christmas and reaches his father Jack (Peter Mullan). Mullan perfectly captures the arsehole. He packs the offensive, self centred, lazy and abusive into five minutes without making it seem overdone. Tripney pitches Alex just right as the son hung over from the night before. The argument with Caroline Paterson, as Jack's wife Jean, shows just why Alex might not want to phone home.

Long Distance Information transcends its locations of Alex's London flat and Jack's house in East Kilbride and tells a universal story of estrangement with a sharp comic twist. Mullan uses that twist to show something of Jack's emotional frailty and his reliance on Jean.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2013
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A phone call reveals the difficulties of estrangement within a family.
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Director: Douglas Hart

Writer: Douglas Hart

Starring: Peter Mullan, Alan Tripney, Caroline Paterson

Year: 2011

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: UK

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