BFI London Film Festival: Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Starring Neil Maskell, Hayley Squires, Joe Cole, Charles Dance, Alexandra Maria Lara and Sam Riley
Screening at LFF October 11th, 12th, 13th and 21st 2018

by Joanna Orland

A film about a bunch of assholes shouting at each other is nothing new for director Ben Wheatley, but in the case of Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. it’s done without the violence. Imagine Free Fire without the guns, and everyone’s related to each other.

Shot very lo-fi with shaky hand-held cameras and quick edits, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. is also saturated in cutting dialogue, much of it improvised by the talented cast. Peppered with familiar faces of working class British actors, there is a joy to watching this dysfunctional family argue with each other at their New Year’s Eve party. This is a family who do love each other in spite of their hatred for each other. Hilarity ensues.

Even with the lack of violence, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. feels like a return to form for Ben Wheatley. There is a dark humour in watching these complex characters interact and a sense of futility that reigns throughout. With so many characters in the mix, it’s a bit hard to keep track of who’s who and how everyone is related, but it doesn’t matter as the energy is high and the friction is intense.

An atypical family drama for the holidays, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. is scheduled to air on the BBC over Christmas. Hopefully your family gets through it better than the Bursteads.


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