Monday, 29 December 2014

Hello Carter Review



Promoting himself through the ranks as assistant director, Anthony Wilcox has now managed to gather himself a budget and cast for his writing and directorial debut. Here you get a glimpse of underrated actors gathered in chirpy roles – an actor from The Inbetweeners shows up, showing how far away the other character was – and a glimpse of Matt Murdoch that you will not see in the upcoming Daredevil TV programme. The influences of Hello Carter feel obvious: it’s a British adoption of the American indie – namely the coming-of-age romcom amalgamates. You can spot the charm of the people, the characters, the fallacies and the serendipitous nature of life in a brief snapshot of a bizarre day and night.
Carter (Charlie Cox) is asked to not sleep on the floor of his brother’s cramped flat any more, while the bed deflates slowly below him. Single, unemployed and now homeless, Carter roams around London free from the financial worries that would worry most. As he does, he calls everyone he knows hoping to get his ex-girlfriend’s (Kelly) new phone number to reconcile their relationship which ended 11 months ago. At his first job interview of the day, he feels bothered more by the nature of the business, surrounded by suited-up youngsters talking business jargon, than the possibility of being one of those just for the cash. This is where he gets his chance meeting with Jenny (Jodie Whittaker), who he will see throughout the night.
Its influences are noticeable, but that is not a bad thing. Anthony Wilcox’s brave decision to the adopt the American independent sensibilities is an interesting idea, especially considering they feel like a strictly American identity. His moulding around the British lifestyle is interesting, bringing in failing straight-to-DVD actor Aaron (Paul Schneider) as the American gateway, twisting the events further into the obscure. The clean cinematography often reminds of Instagram photos which have a layer of ‘fog’ so-to-speak over them, giving an ethereal disconnection of reality and dreamland. Characters are lovingly written to be purposefully peculiar, pinging about London being all Londony. It is an ode to London. It is an ode to people. It is an ode to misunderstandings.
Ode or not, there is still a problem with the lead character Carter. It is hard to feel sympathetic to someone having an existential crisis while swanning around London in a suit and belonging to the upper-middle class echelon. Although his consideration of a job in an opposite direction is interesting, his condescending manner of dealing with an arrogant businessman who could potentially hire him is off-putting. Although everyone does deserve to find who they are, their calling and what would make them genuinely happy, his lack of love for life feels almost like the problem of the entitled, creating a disconnect for anyone who has ever had a struggle. That lack of issue with money in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, is discomforting.
For it all haves and have nots, Hello Carter is an interesting comedy caper, following along bizarre mishaps from life. Wilcox’s espousal of America is successful by making it mostly British wherever possible. Hello Carter is a British delight in that sense, mashing together genres to create something that is not really anything, in the most positive of ways. With an indie soundtrack, a skip in his step and a winning smile, Carter (and indeed Charlie Cox) breezes through you in his short, dynamic running time. Although it relies heavily on convenience for its plot, it’s hardly unbelievable for it, meaning that the string of complaints for it feel unearned. Nowhere does it claim to be realistic, it aims to be enjoyable, with it having the destiny quality to Carter’s life crisis. Perhaps it’s unfair to call it uncertain, aspects of it underdeveloped (Mischa played by Antonia Thomas does feel a waste), convenient or too deadpan; that is being too critical of a film trying to solve its identity – what we can all relate to – with a charming smile. A people film about people being people in a disconnected metropolis.