Eye For Film >> Movies >> November 1st (2019) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Emotional tension bristles from almost every frame of Charlie Manton's short drama that sees Bonnie (Lindsay Duncan) and her daughter Caroline (Sophia Myles) taking a troubled road trip to an execution. The chilly tone is set from the start by voiceover and shots of a snowy landscape - well shot by cinematographer Molly Manning Walker, who must surely be set to step up to features from shorts soon.
Duncan, adopting a southern American drawl for the role, plays Bonnie with a brittle determination, spoiling for a fight with her daughter almost continuously, whether its over the pills she uses to get her through the day or the old car that is, reluctantly, taking them on their road trip.
Manton gives his two stars space to do their thing and makes good use of radio and television reports to economically move the story along, as additional scoring from Thomas Ross Fitzsimons subtly adds to the tension. The script is taut and, though it is chiefly driven by Bonnie's long brewing emotional state - which has become a destructive mix of anger, grief and a whole host over other negative feelings accrued down the years - Manton works in moments of the unexpected, such as her sudden declaration to Caroline, "You've always been my favourite", hinting at another life and set of emotions that circumstances have robbed them of. Empathy runs through the heart of the film - for the daughter caught in her mother's maelstrom and for the mother who has been destroyed to such a degree she, too, can't stop being destructive.
The winner of a Student Academy Award - an accolade that has previously graced the shelves of Spike Lee and Robert Zemeckis among others - Charlie Manton'sfilm is also in contention for the 2020 BAFTAs. With its strong scripting, performances and polished craft, this year's bar is set high.
The film is available to watch online for a limited time hereReviewed on: 31 Dec 2019