I think it would be fair to say that one of the key reasons I moved to London was the unspoken assumption that I would be able to go and see every single film that was released in the UK. No longer would I have to sigh heavily, furiously texting Daisy to debate whether or not we could convince someone to drive us an hour to the nearest showing of a not-even-that-small new release.
Well I wasn’t entirely wrong, but I still had to travel for almost an hour to catch Sometimes Always Never – especially to find a showing that wasn’t at 1pm on a Wednesday. Luckily now that I’m in London travelling for an hour to go and see someone or do something is completely normal, and the showing I had found was conveniently on at a cinema I’ve been dying to go to for a while, the Phoenix in East Finchley.
The film, directed by Carl Hunter (his directorial debut) is based on short story Triple Word Score by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who also pens the screenplay here. Fun fact: he also worked with Danny Boyle to write the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony! I love to learn.
Bill Nighy takes the reigns as lead character Alan, a quiet man continuing the search for his missing son who walked out of the house during a game of scrabble and never returned. Left behind is the now neglected other son Arthur, played by Sam Riley, who lives in a constantly agitated state with his wife and son.
The pair are reunited at the start of the film to identify a body that could be their missing family member, and we’re immediately dropped in to the middle of their dysfunction – which seems to be summarised by their inability to communicate except when playing Scrabble.
As soon as the film began I knew that I would in the future, on a Thursday evening at around 8pm, watch it with my Mum on Sky Movies. I will choose it because it is relatively lighthearted, inoffensive, and only 90 minutes long.
It’s a film that displays it’s (presumably) small budget as a badge of honour, with any scene where animation is necessary given to us in an obviously lighthearted and kitsch way, like the fuzzy VHS roads and trees whizzing by while the two men drive to the morgue together. The whole film is bursting with its own distinct and often admirable personality, making it more memorable than it might of been in the hands of a flatter director.
The odd style of the film fits well with the at times surreal plot and dialogue, and the whole thing is carried off with prowess by the cast. Bill Nighy is one of the most endearingly charming skilful actors of all time, and he gives the entire thing credibility and class. I laughed out load quite a lot of times – though it was more of a knowing ‘ha!’ than a full on ROFL, you know?
Despite the short running time, I found myself really starting to fidget in the second half of this film. Some of the sub plot with Alan’s grandson meeting a girl felt a little unnecessary to me, and though I found that part of the film enjoyable, I felt like it was just delaying us from getting to where we needed to be.
There was also something I found quite jarring about the style of the film. At times I found it literally uncomfortable to look at, which I guess could be a result of the camera shots or the lighting, and the chime-y soundtrack began to grate on my nerves after a while. However, I did definitely acclimatise by the end of the film, and this is very much the personal preference of me being a sensitive little flower.
ALSO the gentleman behind me full-on shouted at someone across the room for their phone ringing before the film had even begun, which to be honest made me feel very on edge.
A colourful and peculiar tale of family relationships, that you could probably wait to watch on TV.