Review: Adrift in Soho

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Title: Adrift in Soho
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Pablo Behrens
Starring: Owen Drake, Caitlin Harris, Chris Wellington
Runtime: 1 hr 48 mins

What It Is: Set in the 1950s, two young filmmakers and a writer arrive in Soho, London, and experience

What We Think: This film has a promising beginning. Beautifully shot, atmospheric shots of a night in Soho, stitched together over a jazzy soundtrack reminiscent of noir. We get our introductions to our characters, and everything is fine until they open their mouths. While the establishing shots of the film, everything that’s just music playing, is gorgeous to look at and listen to, the scenes of dialogue are painful. I found three repeated things wrong with nearly every one of these kinds of scenes. The first, being the performances. I didn’t buy a second of any of them. They’re either lacking personality or entirely one-note, to an irritating degree. Next is the writing of these characters and their dialogue. They’re very one dimensional, these people not having much personality to work with, as their less than quality lines are essentially to set up the coming war and repeatedly philosophize about something called “SoHo-itis”. There was no room for the characters to reveal themselves in a way that felt natural, so a connection could be formed. Finally, without fail, these scenes were repeatedly shot in an odd way and edited a bit frenetically. The scenes tend to vary between full-shots of two or three characters and handheld close-ups of characters. These close-ups cut very quickly, and the character that’s speaking at the moment isn’t always focused on. I honestly just didn’t get the logic of these scenes. Maybe the film was supposed to have a fast-paced feel throughout, but instead it always came off as jarring and uncomfortable. These three elements together lead to a disappointing experience. Another small element I’d like to mention was a somewhat lacking quality of audio as well. It’s not a terrible part of the film, but it does point to another issue. I must point out the film was low-budget, which of course could prove a difficult hurdle for some, and seemed to here. I have sympathy for those who don’t exactly have the money to execute everything they’d wanted, but in these times, I expect more from independent filmmakers. In the age of accessibility, unless it’s very effects-heavy, a film having a low budget feel is more in part due to lack of ability than resources.

Our Grade: D, These three elements mentioned above lead to a disappointing experience. Another small element I’d like to mention was a somewhat lacking quality of audio as well. It’s not a terrible part of the film, but it does point to another issue. I must point out the film was low-budget, which of course could prove a difficult hurdle for some, and seemed to here. I have sympathy for those who don’t exactly have the money to execute everything they’d wanted, but in these times, I expect more from independent filmmakers. In the age of accessibility, unless it’s very effects-heavy, a film having a low budget feel is more in part due to lack of ability than resources. I said before… I was disappointed by this movie. Its idea and initial execution were incredibly alluring. But along with the issues I’d mentioned above, I think another large one was I didn’t experience what it was trying to achieve. I barely had any interest in the Soho portrayed in this film. I didn’t know what “Soho-itis” meant by the end, nor did I exactly “feel” it. I really wanted to. If anything I would only suggest this film for cinematographer and composers Martin Kobylarz’s and Anthony Reynold’s respective work on the dialogue-less scenes; essentially the only parts of the film that really feel alive.

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