The Low Down

English music-video director Jamie Thraves makes an impressive feature film debut with this stylish character study, about a group of London bohemians who refuse to be identified by what they do, but can't seem to come up with any better way of defining themselves. At the center of this circle of friends is Frank (Queer as Folk U.K.'s Aidan Gillen), a taciturn,...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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English music-video director Jamie Thraves makes an impressive feature film debut with this stylish character study, about a group of London bohemians who refuse to be identified by what they do, but can't seem to come up with any better way of defining themselves. At the center of this circle of friends is Frank (Queer as Folk U.K.'s Aidan Gillen), a taciturn, late-twentysomething still hovering at the margins of his own life. Since graduating art school, Frank's life has taken the path of least resistance: He shares a run-down flat in a dodgy section of London with his roommate Terry (Rupert Proctor), and works building TV props for his school chum Mike (Dean Lennox Kelly). Even less motivated is John (Tobias Menzies), Frank's friend and co-worker, who can barely get out of bed in the morning but has no trouble criticizing Mike for compromising his artistic integrity in order to make a living. In an effort to pull his life together, Frank starts thinking about getting his own place, and hooks up with a pretty young realtor named Ruby (Kate Ashfield), who's smarting from a difficult breakup. After checking out a few poky apartments together, they begin dating, but Ruby wants to take it slow. Frank, with his lack of self-confidence, short attention span and nasty temper, agrees to give it a go, but a grown-up, responsible relationship is something altogether new to him. With its artfully artless hand-held cinematography, haphazard focus, non-diegetic dialogue and what sounds like a largely improvised script, Thraves's film is all about style, but contains a surprising amount of substance. Thraves's background is in the artier end of the pop-video spectrum, making short films for the likes of Radiohead and Blur. Here, he channels the spirit of the French and German New Wave cinemas — it's not for nothing Frank and Ruby are seen coming out of a Fassbinder double feature — and manages to put a fresh spin on the familiar Gen-X material.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: English music-video director Jamie Thraves makes an impressive feature film debut with this stylish character study, about a group of London bohemians who refuse to be identified by what they do, but can't seem to come up with any better way of defining th… (more)

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