HINTERLAND is the directorial feature debut from actor and rising indie film-maker Harry Macqueen, starring himself and musician Lori Campbell as two friends reuniting on a trip to the country. The film is out 27th February at Curzon cinemas and on demand on Curzon Home Cinema.
Harry Macqueen’s carbon-neutral debut opens to a beautiful score that sets the tone for the ongoing musical motif of the film. Following a series of peaceful shots carefully composed by DP Ben Hecking, our hero takes a drive through London in his old Volvo. Macqueen, obviously very aware of current affairs, intercuts radio shows together which give us a concise account of Britain’s recent economic events, including topics such as extortionate student loans.
Once we have met his female counterpart, we are quickly transported into the beautiful countryside of Cornwall where our protagonists spent much of their youth together. Here the film really drives home the dichotomy between the city and the countryside, or city life in contrast to a simpler rural one.
Nostalgia is prevalent throughout. Lola shoots film on an old-school disposable camera; the pair communicate at night with walkie-talkies in a scene somewhat reminiscent of ’80s Tom Hanks vehicle Big; they drink ale in a pub (though this is cool now in 2015), and play songs around a camp fire in what is surely a standout moment of the film. The film was even shot on old digital camera technology.
Whilst on the surface this is a road trip-film featuring a man and a woman, it is not a conventional romance. Instead, it reaches beyond this and tackles issues of adultery and the entire concept of marriage itself. Adventure seems to trump marriage and kids for our female lead. The characters’ thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams are beautifully revealed in long naturalistic scenes.
HINTERLAND was nominated at Raindance Film Festival 2014 for Best UK Feature. With a budget of under £10,000 Macqueen is clearly a director who knows that storytelling is the most important thing in film and that big budgets are not essential to this. It will be very interesting to see where his career takes him as the opportunities for the scope of his stories will inevitably continue to grow.
HINTERLAND is in cinemas and on demand 27 February