The World We Knew

**1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The World We Knew
"With a sometimes poppy, sometimes bluesy score by French band The LimiƱanas, which contributes some much needed energy, the film establishes a distinct personality."

After a heist goes badly wrong, six men, one of them seriously injured, hole up together in a safe house to wait for help. So far, so Reservoir Dogs. This time, however, there's no police officer hidden among them and they're not in the US but England, where attitudes and expectations are very different. Young first-timer Smith (Mat Harvey) is seriously cut up about having shot a police officer, though the others assure him that he had no choice and they couldn't have escaped any other way. Carpenter (Finbar Lynch) is quick to throw blame around. Sometime boxer Gordon (Johann Myers) turns directly to drugs like a man used to dealing with pain and stress, but the others mill around, not knowing what to do with themselves, with hours to go before they can expect any kind of relief.

The house, a handsome property set in spacious grounds, is devoid of the home comforts the younger men are used to, offering little to distract them. Having this much space seems to affect them more badly than being stuck in the same room might have done. They have space to ask awkward questions and to wonder - as viewers must also do - how the men they are waiting for will treat them. And there's something else about the house. As darkness falls, they begin to sense that something is in there with them - something that preys on their existing feelings of unease, forcing them to confront the shadows in their pasts.

Copy picture

Slow to build, The World We Knew explores the connections between the men, their complex network of loyalties and emotional bonds. Generational differences in thinking become apparent which give a further meaning to the title; together with the style of the film it seems like a reflection on a lost age when the world of organised crime ran according to rules which everybody understood. The gradual breakdown of material rules, as the house's supernatural presence builds, mirrors this and leads the men to question aspects of their own identity.

With a sometimes poppy, sometimes bluesy score by French band The LimiƱanas, which contributes some much needed energy, the film establishes a distinct personality. Its characters are well drawn though - as is common in ensemble films from relatively inexperienced teams - they are probably much better established i the writers' heads, with not quite enough making it into the script to explain everything that needs to be explained, so that sometimes their interactions and the assumptions they make are confusing.

Overall, this is a promising early piece of work from a filmmaking team which scores well in several areas where most struggle, but which still hasn't fully mastered its craft. With a little tightening up, the film could have punched a lot harder. It's still an interesting effort to do something a bit different with the crime and horror genres, and a worthy contribution to the Frightfest 2020 line-up.

Reviewed on: 24 Oct 2020
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The World We Knew packshot
After a job goes bad, six armed robbers must spend a single night at a deserted safe house. But during the stay their pasts come back to haunt them and the men find themselves fighting for their lives and their sanity.

Director: Matthew Benjamin Jones, Luke Skinner.

Writer: Matthew Benjamin Jones, Kirk Lake

Starring: Matthew Benjamin Jones & Luke Skinner. With: Struan Rodger, Johann Myers, Finbar Lynch, Kirk Lake

Year: 2020

Runtime: 78 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

Frightfest 2020

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