Asa Bailey writes, produces, edits and directs this film about Major Ron Harris, played by Bruce Jones (probably best known for Coronation Street in the UK), who ends up with a new carer in the shape of Garry Saunders, played by Jack Marsden (probably best known for Heartbeat in the UK).
The two don’t immediately see eye-to-eye with Harris being a crotchety old so-and-so and Saunders being an out-of-work jobseeker who is forced to help Harris by the job centre otherwise he’ll lose his benefits. At least that’s what he tells Harris, all is not as it appears however.
Harris ends up in hospital which means Saunders can’t do the job anymore and loses his benefits, forcing him out of his caravan and he ends up living in a tent in the woods. Harris then ends up with a new carer Becky, played by Sophie Anders (Break My Fall) who steals from Harris and we see on the game. Then things come together, which I won’t say here otherwise it will spoil things!
First the good. The movie is well directed, the shots are nice, filmed in Llandudno in Wales and it comes across very well. I may sound shocked at that but it’s because I spent my childhood in that seaside town and it didn’t look that good!
The idea behind the film is good, the twist that occurs, is a nice way to have a say on the care system and how we treat those in the armed forces. And a special mention must go to the music which, mostly, is fantastic.
Now to the bad. Perhaps the biggest issue with the film is that I just don’t buy into, I don’t feel that Jones is an old, retired war Major. I’ve only seen Coronation Street occasionally so am not completely up with his performances in that but in this, I’m just not convinced. The performance doesn’t grab me, he just comes across as a slightly old, grumpy git. In case you think I’m being overly harsh, I re-watched the movie with my brother (ex-Navy) and best friend (ex-Army in Germany) and neither where convinced as well I’m afraid.
The relationship between the two men races through at breakneck speed, one minute they seem to hate each other and the next their best mates before falling out and then making up again. When it comes to the twist and the, almost, reversal of roles the performances falter again. Neither men are really convincing.
For some reason, Sophie Anders comes into the film as a carer, then we see her by her mother’s bedside in the hospital, and then she vanishes. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why, what or anything else. I think it’s supposed to be to justify her stealing from Harris but it feels like something got cut that explained her fleeting performance.
I’m always nervous when I see someone has directed, wrote, produced and edited a film, it feels like too much control for one person, they haven’t had anyone to play devil’s advocate or bounce ideas around with. I’m afraid a little of that comes true for me with Cream.
Bailey told me he “financed and produced the film himself as he wanted to make an honest directorial debut”, for that I absolutely applaud the man as not many would go down that route. From a director point of view, things look very good for the man and I, for one, would love to see more of his work. A solid debut.