Monday 30 August 2021

Oops upside the head: "Second Spring"

The latest eccentric misfire from Britfilm's Poverty Row, Andy Kelleher's 
Second Spring, arrives riddled with missing scenes, plot and character info, and with so much dead air in the front and sides of those scenes that are there that matters inadvertently take on a vaguely experimental, avant-garde feel. If I'm reading it right, some of the disjointedness is a choice on Kelleher's part: this is, after all, the story of a greyhaired university lecturer, Kathy (Cathy Naden), whose relationship with the college gardener (Jerry Killick) is cut short by growing signs of dementia. (That would explain why she's also seen picking up strangers on a street, and why she wakes up on a cycle path at one point. It doesn't, however, explain the scene in which Kathy's grown son watches her in the shower.) Much of the bafflement it prompts, though, is a consequence of demonstrably indifferent direction, edit-suite woes, or the money draining out frame by frame. What's especially batty is that, given a rare opportunity to dramatise a late-life romance, screenwriter Martin Herron gives neither of the leads anything interesting to talk about. Instead, they shag a lot, before our heroine gets distracted by the Heathrow expansion, and we're shoved towards a shrug of an ending. Plus points: nice, out-of-the-way Thames Estuary locations (it's a case of four-star scouting, one-star movie) and a fleeting cameo from Eric Richard (The Bill's Bob Cryer) as another of the half-dozen characters who drift into shot with suicidally scant introduction. Otherwise, it's another of those oddities where you start wondering whether everyone behind the camera is OK, because a lot of what's up on screen just looks concussed.

Second Spring opens in selected cinemas from Friday.

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