VOD film review: Tucked
Matthew Turner | On 13, Sep 2019
Director: Jamie Patterson
Cast: Derren Nesbitt, Jordan Stephens, Steve Oram, April Pearson, Joss Porter, Lucy-Jane Quinlan
Written and directed by Jamie Patterson, this moving British drama is set in present-day Brighton, where 80 year-old drag queen Jackie (Derren Nesbitt) rules the roost at his local club, telling gleefully non-PC jokes while sporting a towering beehive hair-do. One night, Jackie collapses at work and is informed by his doctor that he has an aggressive form of cancer, meaning he only has around six months to live.
However, Jackie gets a new lease of life when he’s asked to show 21 year-old performer Faith (Jordan Stephens, from Rizzle Kicks) the ropes at the club. The pair quickly bond, and when Faith discovers the truth about Jackie’s illness, Faith encourages him to start a bucket list and perhaps even reach out to his estranged daughter (April Pearson).
At the age of 83, Derren Nesbitt delivers the performance of his long and distinguished career (he’s worked in British television since the 1950s and co-starred in 60s movies such as Where Eagles Dare). He’s simply wonderful as Jack and Jackie, investing the character with a surface irascibility that masks compassionate depths. Stephens is equally good, in an assured and confident turn that radiates both attitude and vulnerability. Stephens also generates touching chemistry with Nesbitt, and their friendship forms the beating heart of the film.
Patterson’s script is warm, funny and full of humanity, finding new takes on familiar scenes, thanks to the odd-couple relationship between the leads. Accordingly, the scene where they try and buy drugs from a drug dealer (Steve Oram) is hilarious, while a strip club encounter proves unexpectedly poignant.
In addition, although the film is careful to lay out its gender politics – Faith is non-binary; Jack is straight, but his love of women’s clothes lead to the break-up of his marriage – the script is much more concerned with its moving portrayal of friendship and kindness than it is with banging the drum for a particular cause, and it’s all the stronger for it.
As for the direction, Patterson gets the tone of the film exactly right. In other hands, the material could have been painfully mawkish and sentimental, but Patterson gives it just the right amount of edge to make it work; little details make the film feel authentic, such as the production design on Jackie’s decidedly lived-in flat and some smartly chosen locations.
Put simply, this is a richly rewarding British drama that’s full of heart, hope and humanity, anchored by a pair of note-perfect performances. Is it too much to hope that it ends up with some recognition once awards season kicks off? Make no mistake: BAFTA or no BAFTA, this is one of the best British films of the year.