Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This is a proper movie, 16 minutes long, with a genuine indy feel - handheld camera, bad sound, confusing storyline, natural performances, real locations.

Flat in Pilton, Edinburgh. Jason (Elek Nathan) and Johnny (Brydon Graham) are talking about cards, money, playing a game. It might be early evening. Billy (Christopher Alison) is being sick in the toilet. He comes through. The others can't be bothered with him and then give him some coke and go out to a club. Afterwards Jason and Billy climb Arthur's Seat and hug each other. They come to Carlton Hill, where Johnny is snogging a bird. Jason insults the girl and he and Johnny have a stand off. Later, at 3.30 in the morning Jason is in his dealer's (Mark Smith) flat, trying to score dope without paying for it. Their arguing wakes the dealer's baby and when he leaves the room, Jason steals a wad of notes from the mantlepiece and legs it. Billy turns up and then the dealer and Jason fight on the waste ground outside the flats. Suddenly, Rhonda (Andrea McKenzie) appears looking seriously pissed off and starts verbally carving pieces out of Billy for being such a loser and a liar. She tells him it's over between them. She is angry in that touch-me-and-I'll-kill-you sort of way. It is almost dawn.

There is brave cinema and safe cinema. Strap is brave cinema. The characters may be underdeveloped, although Rhonda and the dealer come fully formed, and the story can lurch and leap like a drunken salmon, but director Mark Callan has taken the risk and bloody well made it, for which he deserves credit. Smith's script sounds improvised, which adds another layer of reality. The thing about life in the irresponsible years is that anything can happen, and nothing. That's what this is.

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2006
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Out on the town in Edinburgh with dopeheads and losers.

Director: Mark Callan

Writer: Mark Smith

Starring: Elek Nathan, Christopher Alison, Brydon Graham, Andrea McKenzie, Mark Smith

Year: 2005

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: UK


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