Night People

Night People


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The fashion for ensemble pictures continues apace. This time, it is Edinburgh's turn. The cinematography, shot after dark and at dawn, is exquisite. The city has seldom looked more Mediterranean.

There are four-and-a-half stories running concurrently. With the exception of the half story, involving a blind man (Michael MacKenzie) taking a taxi to the Forth Road Bridge, they don't interact.

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The taxi driver (Katrina Bryan) is involved in a druggy sub plot, as well as carting her precocious five-year-old daughter (Lily Waterton) around in the cab. Having spent time inside for carrying, or rather taking the rap for her supplier boyfriend (Jim Sturgeon), she is back operating as a dealer's mule. He talks of going into business with high-class operators and wants her to come in on it. He is a persuasive hard man, with street charm and a roguish self-confidence.

Father Matthew (Anthony Beselle) is a Catholic priest from Africa, ministering to a spare congregation of old people. One evening he meets a homeless girl (Kellyanne Farquhar), who is using the church as a squat. He is not wearing his official garb and so she doesn't recognise him. They talk. She's an addict, possibly HIV positive, a self-abusing runaway - she cuts her arms with a blade - and he is full of doubt about the value of his contribution to God and the community.

At the bus terminal, 14-year-old David (Anthony Martin) is waiting for the 6am coach to London. He's also running away - shy, vulnerable and exposed to sexual predators. A rent boy (Neil Mackay) befriends him, or, as seems more likely, grooms him for an unspecified role in the remake of The 120 Days Of Sodom.

The only humorous item is Stewart's attempt to sell a pedigree chow that he has stolen from a supermarket car park and been filmed doing it on CCTV. Alan McCafferty's performance is the best in the film, closely followed by Cara Shandley, who plays his infinitely sensible teenage daughter.

Night People is well made, beautifully shot and adequately acted. Some characters work better than others. Mackay's rent boy is dead on the money, while Farquhar's church squatter seems far too well fed and feisty.

What begins as a gritty, realistic look at Edinburgh's underside ends on a wave of universal redemption. The sentimental closures feel like betrayal, not that happy endings are bad in themselves, but, in this case, they run against co-writer/director Adrian Mead's original concept.

For further information about the film visit the official site.

Reviewed on: 27 Oct 2006
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Four-and-a-half stories from Edinburgh in search of redemption.
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Director: Adrian Mead

Writer: Jack Dickson, Adrian Mead

Starring: Katrina Bryan, Alan McCafferty, Anthony Beselle, Neil Mackay, Michael MacKenzie, Kellyanne Farquhar, Cara Shandley, Anthony Martin, Jim Sturgeon, Lily Waterton

Year: 2006

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


Reel 2006

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