Directed by Duane Hopkins
Starring George MacKay
In UK Cinemas April 10th, 2015

by Joanna Orland (reviewed at the 71st Venice Film Festival)

Tim is a decent young man forced into a life of crime as he struggles to take care of his family and himself.  After his mother dies and his older brother is put in jail, responsibility falls to Tim to take care of his family home, his younger sister and his girlfriend as his health suffers and the pressure mounts.  Tim wants to do the right thing, but his situation gets more and more dire in each scene.  His circumstances are mirrored by his declining health which is used throughout as a metaphor for his descent into a life of trouble which he delves so deep into there is nearly no escape.

George MacKay gives a harrowing performance as Tim.  It is no wonder he was nominated for this year’s EE BAFTA Rising Star Award, only to lose out to Will Poulter.  MacKay is still a star on the rise as he single-handedly makes this film gripping.  Other performances in this film are not as strong, with the character of his girlfriend Lilly being an unnecessary role that takes the plot a bit too far for its own good.

Well written and directed, Bypass is a bleak view on broken Britain on a more personal level as director Duane Hopkins allows MacKay to carve out a very empathetic and humanistic character with Tim.  Its few plot-driven flaws aside, Bypass makes a very thrilling drama with an excellent lead performance.


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