|Relationships are not easy for Ruby and Frank.|
After watching Treacle Jr. (2010), the third feature film that Jamie Thraves had written and directed, I decided that his debut feature film The Low Down (2000) may well be worth a look and I was not disappointed. Like Treacle Jr. it’s a low budget independent film with has the same main star Aidan Gillen, a film he appeared in before his career took off playing Tommy Carcetti in the HBO TV series The Wire (2004–2008). It also stars Kate Ashfield (The War Zone 1999) and Dean Lennox Kelly who is best known for his role of Kev Ball in the TV series Shameless.
Thraves story tracks the day-to-day existence of Frank (Gillen) who earns his living making props alongside his two best friends Mike (Lennox Kelly) and John (Tobias Menzies). Franks life seems to have ground to a halt, not really going anywhere. So he decides to change his accommodation and move out of the flat that he presently shares with the depressed Terry (Rupert Procter, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 2011). It’s while looking for a new apartment that he meets the young attractive Ruby (Ashfield) who works in the local estate agents but would rather study English literature. It’s not long before they realise that they are attracted to one another.
Made in conjunction with Film 4, Thraves really gets to grips with the character studies, which he has stated are based on people he has known personally. He demonstrates how insecurities can get in the way of life. Frank is not good at communicating emotionally; he is somewhat stunted and not good at relationships, getting to a stage where he is past caring and has lost his ambition to be an artist. Ruby is straightforward, a tomboy, she really wants to fall in love with Frank but not being a great communicator herself makes the development of a serious relationship between the two of them pretty difficult.
A film were people are at a certain time in there lives and are becoming scared to move on, frightened of change but at the same time yearning after change, trying to escape a life that's becoming mundane and somewhat boring. As I have already said Jamie Thraves really nails his subjects and I for one really look forward to more films from this British director. Incidentally if you look carefully you will spot a young Martin Freeman (The Hobbit 2012) in his first feature film.