Raindance VOD film review: Wasp
Leslie Byron Pitt | On 27, Sep 2015
Director: Philippe Audi-Dor
Cast: Hugo Bolton, Simon Haycock, Ellie Condron
Watch Wasp online in the UK: Monday 28th September
Wasp screens at the Raindance Film Festival on Sunday 27th September at 18.30 and on Wednesday 30th September at 16.40 before hitting DVD on Monday 28th September.
A Wasp can often hover around a person and if left alone, they tend to fly away. However, if the insect is bothered enough, there’s a clear chance it may sting the agitator. Such an analogy becomes apparent in Swiss director/writer Philippe Audi-Dor’s debut feature, in which a romantic break in the south of France is suddenly interrupted by a past colleague. Very soon, sexual tension and paranoia begins to seep into the cracks of what appeared to be a perfect couple.
What Wasp lacks in budget, it makes up for in setting and confidence. This is a relatively assured piece, which neatly captures the allure of its European location, as well as the troublesome middle class issues contained within the idyllic villa. The film’s short running time allows relationships and dynamics to start quickly and Audi-Dor does well to get these tensions across swiftly.
Narratively, the film’s love triangle will not really surprise those who are well versed in similar dramas, while the dialogue, timing and editing often feels stiff. The film falls into a more stable groove as it trundles along, although it’s best not to compare this to the likes of Polanski’s Knife In The Water.
Where Wasp is strongest is in how quickly we warm to, and side with, the small cast. Hugo Bolton and Simon Haycock (as James and Olivier respectively) bring us a likeable relationship, while Ellie Condron rounds off the trio well as the manipulative Caroline. Condron should be singled out, especially, for finding a delicate balance of vulnerability and seductiveness, which is handled convincingly through her costume design and make up, as well as her performance. The fact that Audi-Dor slaps a telling reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita into proceedings should not go amiss.
Wasp is often rough around the edges. The attempts of ambiguity sometimes feel incomplete, while the visual reference of the title starts to wear thin as the film goes on. The naivety of Bolton’s James also begins to become a little hard to sustain and the film as a whole could feel tighter. Yet Audi-Dor directs with enough composure to keep the air of tension palatable. We may know where Wasp is heading, but it’s still enjoyable enough to see where it ends up.