VOD film review: Buttercup Bill
James R | On 06, Sep 2015
Directors: Remy Bennett, Émilie Richard-Froozan
Cast: Remy Bennett, Evan Louison, Pauly Lingerfelt
Watch Buttercup Bill online in the UK: Curzon Home Cinema / Apple TV (iTunes) / Virgin Movies / EE / TalkTalk / Eircom / Amazon Instant Video
Hot on the heels of Miss Julie in cinemas comes Buttercup Bill, a similarly twisted, psychosexual tale. The film, which marks the feature debut of Tony Bennett’s grand-daughter, Remy, follows the bond between two estranged soul mates.
Remy plays Pernilla, who flees New York’s neon nightlife after hearing the news that a childhood friend has committed suicide. She heads to the home of former partner Patrick (Louison), who’s holed up in a rundown cabin in Louisiana. The downbeat landscape will be recognisable to those who watched the first season of True Detective, but there’s much less going on behind the lens here.
Once reunited, Patrick and Pernilla find their flame rekindled, a jealous kind of passion that starts to suck in other, unwitting bedfellows. Intercourse is more a weapon aimed at the other person than a means of bringing them together, while, when they really get aroused, they end up indulging in physical abuse with cutlery.
It’s not a pleasant spectacle, but the strong performances by Remy and Evan carry a gruff enough chemistry to sell their tainted brand of love. The problem is that there never feels much more to this story than that. Bennett finds more success in the visuals, which she co-directs with Émilie Richard-Froozan. Together, they produce strikingly edited montages, which compensate for an over-fondness of sun-bathed squalor; the poverty-stricken life of Patrick is portrayed in a way that’s occasionally a little too glamorous. Crucially, though, the script lacks the depth of 2013’s similarly Southern Gothic drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which managed to combine the celluloid charm of a rural location with an equally unbalanced romance. The form of Buttercup Bill is a promising indication of new film-making talent, but you wish more attention was paid to the content.