Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Waster (2012) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Jeff (Jamie Jack Gordon) is a waster. He's been living off the inheritance he got from his grandmother but it's almost gone and the same could be said for his girlfriend. Meanwhile, his novel sits unfinished. Every time he goes to begin writing he finds himself watching online films instead. Can anything persuade him to change? It might be a dream or it might be something supernatural, but the arrival of two sinister strangers certainly gets hi attenion – especially when they threaten to take away his 'life instance' and give it to somebody more useful.
Films like this walk a fine line because it's difficult to balance audience sympathies – many might feel sympathetic to Jeff's way of living, whilst if they loathe it then they're less luikely to care about his fate. Will Jeff really become a better person by learning discipline or will he just annoy a different set of people? It takes a strong script to navigate this difficult territory and, where it deals with mundane matters, The Waster's is only average. Where it succeeds is in its portrayal of the strangers. Not only is this beautifully shot with a nod to film noir (one suspects the director spent a lot of time not working but watching movies), but the banter between the agents introduces a dry humour that nicely circumvents the film's failings. Joe Cassidy and Tommy Jay Brennan are perfectly cast as the kind of stern Glaswegians who don't need to use muscle to put the frighteners on those who get in their way, whilst the evident bureaucracy complicating things at their end grounds them in the familiar.
At either side of this, the film is weaker; too simplistic at the outset, too neat at the end. To do these characters justice it needs a stronger pay-off. That said, it has a certain appeal as a sort of anti-It's A Wonderful Life, and most viewers will find it pleasantly diverting.Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2013