Dir: Andrew Douglas. UK. 2013. 93mins
Intriguing true events from 2003 are carefully shaped into an absorbing psychological thriller in uwantme2killhim? which sustains credibility and interest even as the twisting revelations threaten to defy belief. Rising British star Jamie Blackley is a commanding central presence in a role that allows him to display more of his dramatic range and confirm his potential as a leading man.
The film develops into a modern day variation on the Leopold and Loeb case that touches on vulnerable adolescence, loneliness, paranoia, youthful bravado.
The cast and the scale of the film suggest something that would sit comfortably on British television but there are enough elements to generate theatrical potential for Entertainment One which has the UK rights.
uwantme2killhim? opens with the aftermath of a stabbing in which 16 year-old schoolboy Mark (Blackley) has attempted to kill his friend John (Tony Regbo). He claims to have committed the crime ” for the greater good” and the remainder of the film juggles the present and the recent past as determined police officer DI Sarah Clayton (Joanne Froggatt) attempts to understand what has happened. We learn that Mark was an impressionable youngster, infatuated with a woman he meet in an internet chatroom. She had asked him to befriend her younger brother John.
The film develops into a modern day variation on the Leopold and Loeb case that touches on vulnerable adolescence, loneliness, paranoia, youthful bravado. and the climate of fear generated by global terrorism. Screenwriter Mike Walden tells the story from Mark’s point of view, meaning some of the other characters, especially Clayton and Mark’s parents, feel underdeveloped.
He still, however, manages to shape complex material into a clever, compact little tale and director Andrew Douglas maintains a steady grip on all the unexpected turns. He also secures strong performances throughout with Toby Regbo matching the intensity and conviction of Blackley in the less showy role of John.
Production companies: Alliance Films, Bad Hat Harry, Jumping Jack Films
International sales: Independent Film Company www.independentfilmcompany.com
Producers: Bryan Singer, Steve Golin, Peter Heslop, Simon Crocker, Jason Taylor
Executive producers: Andrew Douglas, Paul Green, Marc Berliner, Xavier Marchand, Robert Walak, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, Lenny Beckerman, Tim Smith, Anne Sheehan
Screenplay: Mike Walden
Cinematography: Tim Wooster
Editor: Michael Elliot
Production designer: Paul Cripps
Music: Jon Hopkins
Main cast: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Joanne Froggatt, Liz White, Jaime Winstone