VOD film review: Wayland’s Song
Ivan Radford | On 08, Oct 2013
Director: Richard Jobson
Cast: Michael Nardone, Alan McKenna, Orla Brady, Hannah Lederer
Watch online: blinkbox, iTunes
“You don’t talk much.” That’s Nathalie (Lederer) to Wayland (Nardone) near the start of Richard Jobson’s British thriller. She’s right. A guy who returns from Afghanistan to find his daughter missing, he’s a man of little words, but a lot of action – and even more staring.
Wayland recruits her friend to help him. They check out the local bar, run by Grace (Brady), and have run-ins with the town’s bent copper (McKenna). And all the while, Wayland says next to nothing. Then again, he doesn’t have to: Michael Nardone’s steely blue eyes do the talking for him. Taking in the seedy underbelly of his quiet English home town, Nardone’s watchful presence makes for a magnetic lead hero. You don’t even see him blink.
That confidence on screen is matched by Richard Jobson off it. The veteran indie director shoots this grimy drama with a surprising amount of flair. Colours, swooping cameras and disorienting use of sound collide in blood red-steeped corridors and disturbing recreations of epileptic fits. The plot sounds like something similar to Taken, but Wayland’s Song has more to say than that. As he gets closer to finding out what happened to his daughter, the quest becomes more a search for his soul – and Jobson’s striking colour palette leaves no doubt about its fate.
From Helmland Provence to another kind of hell, Wayland struggles to face reality in the wake of such horrible conflict. Unseen violence overseas erupts in claustrophobic shootouts – a lavish, unflinching display that, while eons away from recent actioner Welcome to the Punch, feels just as bold and equally far from the kitchen sink.
The film occasionally descends into clumsy moments at the start (the excellent Hannah Lederer shaking her head at people not to tell a secret or an encounter with a hammy, coke-snorting artist) but by the time Wayland’s Song is at an end, and the stakes are high, the vibrant grit is left ringing in your ears – along with some well-chosen songs from The Futureheads. It’s a film that doesn’t talk much. But it doesn’t have to.