Jack Spring’s British road movie heads into UK cinemas in early March – and here’s our review.
Director: Jack Spring
Cast: Dan Shelton, Matt Shealon
Release date: March 1st 2019
Reviewer: Charlotte Harrison
Road trip movies have a tried and tested formula. Two or more people, who’ve usually grown apart and/or fallen out, travel somewhere together for reasons that are usually profound and life-altering. The journey becomes metaphoric as well as literal, as the protagonists learn about themselves and each other.
Destination: Dewsbury doesn’t deviate from the formula. Four childhood friends – Gaz, Adam, Smithy and Peter – travel together to see longforgotten friend Frankie who’s dying of cancer. We see them as rambunctious teens in the 80s with their whole lives ahead of them. They’re allies in arms against the world: “You would have needed a crow-bar to separate you lot back then”. Cut forward a couple of decades, and life hasn’t treated any of them kindly. Jobs, relationships and everything in between is all rather testing. Or, as main character Peter comments in his voiceover, “it’s funny how things turn out. Absolutely fucking hilarious.” Peter Hudders finally escaped school and then somehow drifted back to it in the capacity of a teacher, spending a decade dealing with ‘grunting teens’. His wife has invited him to move out. He’s not really got any friends, not anymore anyway. The road trip on offer might just be a respite of sorts.
And, whilst it’s nothing particularly new, it works pretty well. Made on a tiny budget, this is a British drama with a lot going for it. Aside from some really grim literal toilet humour that goes on too long, and the occasional veering into crass moments that don’t quite work, the majority of the film is touching, with a script packed full of the kind of socially awkward moments most Brits can imagine and endure. At its best, it’s a heartfelt study of male friendship.