VOD film review: Hinterland
Ivan Radford | On 28, Feb 2015
Director: Harry Macqueen
Cast: Lori Campbell, Harry Macqueen
Watch Hinterland online in the UK: Curzon Home Cinema / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Two people sit in a car. One has a guitar. The other has a pained expression. It’s that simple tableau that makes up the majority of Harry Macqueen’s debut feature, Hinterland.
The film follows the reunion of Harvey (Macqueen) and Lola (Loria Campbell), as she finds herself forced to return back to England after a period of time overseas. They drive to the seaside cottage of their younger days in the hope of reconnecting over a weekend.
Clocking in at a slim 78 minutes, it’s a slight tale, but that brings out the uncomplicated strength of Macqueen’s story.
Drinking, pulling over for photos, strolling the countryside, Harry and Lori are an instantly believable couple, him hopeful and her weary. Their exchanges – including one over a pair of walkie talkies – could become twee in another director’s hands, but their chemistry verges on platonic rather than romantic. When she gets out her instrument to sing by a fire, then, any thoughts of a quirky rom-com are banished from your mind, instead revealing a more sorrowful, mature examination of growing up and moving on.
“It’s an adventure. And you’re the most adventurous person I know,” offers Harvey, naively, as they talk through the problems of twenty-something life. Their uncertainty will be familiar to some indie cinema watchers, but it nonetheless rings true for a generation of people growing up in an equally unsure nation – snippets of political debate on the car radio and the fact that Harvey has had to move back in with his parents sow seeds of sadness beneath the beautiful British coast.
The result is a moving drama about missing rather than connecting, and a showcase for an excellent cast and a promising new director. In one central scene, our two tender leads share a bath, a scenario that recalls the intimacy of that cramped vehicle earlier. It seems to promise steamy fun but any cliched spark practically fizzles out among the suds. Sometimes, Hinterland reminds us, you’re sitting in that car on your own.