Posted Oct 11 2018

LFF 2018 Preview - Happy New Year, Colin Burstead

Dir: Ben Wheatley

Starring Neil Maskell, Hayley Squires, Sam Riley, Charles Dance, Bill Patterson, Doon Mackinnon

Ben Wheatley takes another distinct change in direction, moving away from the supernatural elements of some of his work, and very distinctly away from the comic shoot outs of his most recent, Free Fire. Here, he finds himself in what could almost be early Mike Leigh territory, with this semi-improvised New Year’s Eve party, that doesn’t go terribly well.

Colin Burstead (Maskell) wants to impress the family he seems to resent as much as love by hiring a small castle for their end of year get together. As the family assemble – including his brother David (Riley - absent for the last five years and now remarried to a German woman no one has met) – old tensions and current issues come to the fore, some funny, some that certain family members just can’t get past.

Wheatley’s low key movie is one of his best to date, his ever prowling hand held camera dropping in on moments of family life, all captured with a certain breeze, instantly recognisable and often very funny. The cast are uniformly excellent (all contributing a certain amount of their own dialogue and interactions) and Wheatley balances the tensions and the humour with great skill. His editing should also be applauded for mingling the numerous characters and events in such an effective manner, that the movie never has time to pause, but also never feels rushed.

A small scale delight, this may not be a party you’d want to be invited to. But it’s certainly one well worth eavesdropping on.

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead plays the LFF on 11, 12  & 13 October

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