A Dark Reflection *
Dir: Tristan Loraine. Starring: Georgina Sutcliffe, Rita Ramnani, Marina Sirtis, Mark Dymond, Nicholas Day, Stephen Tompkinson. 15 cert, 102 mins
The eccentric Brit indie A Dark Reflection squanders time and money on entirely the wrong things. Given that writer-director Tristan Loraine is railing against the industry cost-cutting that has reportedly seen carbon monoxide seep into passenger-jet cabins, some logging of airmiles was clearly necessary; as suggested by his 2009 debut 31 North 62 East – a Crawley-set political conspiracy thriller, currently in heavy rotation on the Movies4Men channel – Loraine is your go-to guy for soaring helicopter shots of the South Downs. What’s back on the ground, however, stays woefully, often comically under-resourced. The film’s head is forever in the clouds.
Loraine, a sometime pilot, may very well have news to break, yet the template into which he’s copied-and-pasted it resembles a Poundland Silkwood: a once-jetsetting journo (Georgina Sutcliffe) – now relegated to a dispiriting reporter’s beat on the Sussex Standard – regains her crusading zeal while investigating the affairs of the coyly fictionalised “JaspAir”. So we know who to boo, the blustering Sir Charles Jaspar (Nicholas Day) is shown hunting pheasants as his planes tumble (unseen) from the skies; his wife (Marina Sirtis, from Star Trek) establishes her credentials by wondering aloud what a chore it must be to have to rent one’s living quarters.
These straw people at least have some shape about them. Everywhere else you look, your gaze alights on underdirected performers having to frame threats to the layman in scenes that plod on far beyond their natural cut point: poor Stephen Tompkinson, drafted in for a one-scene favour as a green-skinned organophosphate victim, only reminds one of Drop the Dead Donkey’s hapless danger-junkie Damien Day. Loraine’s planning a follow-up doc on this subject, and that – providing the budget goes on anything other than McDonnell-Douglasses – might just play; however well-intentioned and informed, this tinny and tensionless dispatch really doesn’t.
A Dark Reflection opens in selected cinemas from today.