You might be forgiven for missing a few new films this past Christmas season, given the gargantuan shadow Avatar has cast across our cinemas but maybe next time, with a bit more warning, you might notice that the British indie is on the way up. Celadors Slumdog Millionaire success could well have made waves enough to assure more financial risk on the British film slates; possible too that were now settling into the digital age, giving way to cheaper HD shoots or maybe its that finally the UK is honing something more satisfying than grit-flicks and costume dramas into the feature format? Whatever it is there has been a host of quality British films recently from new directors, now sidling up to the Danny Boyles' and Shane Meadows of the UK cinema scene. After the jump, a review of the surprisingly large number of Brit films 2010 has delivered us already, and a close look at some great looking titles yet to come... The Christmas season started early for home-grown indies when Paul Kings feature debut Bunny and the Bull slid onto the psychedelic helter-skelter with an inventive and bizarre tale of a Boosh-esque duo on an imaginary European road trip. We then saw into Turner Prize nominee Sam Taylor Woods Nowhere Boy; an intimate window into the life of a young John Lennon (now gaining notoriety in the US with a release from The Weinstein Co. scheduled for the 27th of January). Mat Whitecross warts-and-all biopic of Ian Dury,Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll is pacey, vibrant and features a truly Oscar-worthy performance from Andy Serkis. Then, just last week, yet another debut feature opened to critical acclaim with Malcolm Venvilles kidnap/gangster flick 44 Inch Chest. To name a few, but it seems that despite the recession, the British film industry is healthier than ever with even more in store for the coming year. 2010 will see daring directorial debuts from the likes of Christopher Morris (The Day Today, Brass Eye) in the jihadist comedy Four Lionsto a double whammy of 9th Legion films from Neil Marshall (The Descent, Dog Soldiers) in Centurion and Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void) with The Eagle of the Ninth. Whatever the secret ingredients spicing our burgeoning scene, I say keep it coming and hopefully, with some luck (and another few Oscars!) therell plenty more en-route to be excited about. Heres a little taster of the indie films Im tipping to be larger than life this year:
Never Let Me GoStatus: Post-production Opening: 2010 Director: Mark Romanek Cast: Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins Based on the Kazuo Ishiguro novel of the same name that was short-listed for the 2005 Booker Prize, Never Let Me Go is the story of a group of friends struggling to piece together the memories of their past in order to understand their role in a refreshingly cliché-free dystopian future. With a screenplay adaptation by writer Alex Garland (The Beach, Sunshine), a great cast and a hot director NLMG promises to be an awards contender, but having been in post-production for so long its possible theyll delay further and we wont see anything until closer to the 2011 awards season. Please please never let me go . . . on that long!
Four LionsStatus: Completed Opening: 2010 Director: Christopher Morris Cast: Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Adeel Akhtar, Arsher Ali Christopher Morris has never been one to shy away from controversial subject matter and his latest comedy offering may well be his most inflammatory yet a comedy about four British terrorists plotting to bomb public places in London. A statement issued by the production company Warp Films goes some way to putting this in context:
As Spinal Tap understood heavy metal and Dr. Strangelove the Cold War, Four Lions understands modern British jihadis.Four Lions premiered last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, but there is as yet no date set for release or screenings here in the UK.