A mother travels across the US to witness the man she suspects of murdering her child put to death. After some 28 years and three stays of execution, it is finally happening.
Bonnie, Lindsay Duncan (“Sherlock (TV)”, “Birdman”), is straight talking, loud and angry that she has had to wait so long for her son’s killer to be finally put to death. She wants this man to suffer, she hopes it takes a long time.
She’s traveling with her daughter Caroline, Sophia Myles (“Transformers: Age Of Extinction”, “Spooks (TV)”), who is quiet, meek and always put down by her mother in the most vicious ways.
Things aren’t helped when Caroline doesn’t set the alarm correctly in the motel they stop at and the pair wake up late, Bonnie panicking she’s going to miss what she’s waited so long for.
Caroline though, has a different stance. For starters, she isn’t even sure that the man on death row is guilty. She is horrified that her mother has such a hard line against this man and things come to a head at the prison when Caroline finally gives her mother a taste of her own medicine.
Charlie Manton (“Second Skin (Short)”, “My Mother (Short)”) is the writer and director of November 1st. He’s managed to create something that will truly push people to opposing sides; some will side with Bonnie, angry at what she’s going through, agreeing with her about her daughter, others will be with Caroline, feeling for her, understanding her position.
It is wonderfully made, filmed entirely in the UK (apart from the shot of snow which was Russia), at the same airfield that Top Gear is filmed at, to allow them to drive on the right-hand side of the road. Kudos to production designer Theo Boswell for making everything look so American.
Whilst the performances of our two leading ladies are very good, the accents leave a little to be desired. It feels stilted and awkward at times, it’s the one thing that had me questioning the whole setup, something didn’t feel quite right.
That aside though, November 1st is a truly wonderful short film that is in contention for a BAFTA at this years ceremony.