Nutlins – Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? (London Film Festival Review)

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Kickstarter has become a dear friend of many aspiring young filmmakers across the globe. Gone are the days of traipsing you script around a hundred different studios getting turned away into the tragic windswept night. Now, all one has to do is add your pitch to the website, sit back, and hope for investors to jump on board. For the creative team of Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg?, a charming family adventure set in a Dorset, this is exactly what happened.

Shot on a shoestring, Nelson Nutmeg has a real CBBC drama feel to it, and in the best of ways. Set in a fictional holiday camp, Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? follows the adventures of a group of children as they try to uncover the murder of the camp`s cheerful squirrelly mascot.

Filled with tongue-in-cheek silliness but with a heart of gold, Nelson Nutmeg plays out like a Tracey Beaker movie written by David Walliams, and would certainly not feel out of place in a Bank Holiday TV schedule.

The kids, each playing a typically adult murder mystery trope, are the real stars of the movie, with the real break-out being young Loretta Walsh as the group`s leader Billie. Confident and conscientious, Walsh is certainly one to watch out for in the future. Her stalwart comrades, played by Jonah Alexander, James Grogan, J.J. Brown and Hattie Gotobed all bring a good-natured charm to proceedings without ever having that annoyingness that child actors are often rife with.

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Indeed, it`s a shame that with such strong young stars the adult members of the cast do not step up to the plate. The main selling point of the film appears to be Bonnie Wright of Harry Potter fame, which sadly is not something to be overly proud of. If the Harry Potter films taught us anything, it`s that Miss Wright is very good at silently mooning, and that given any actual dialogue, she turns so wooden that she would make a wardrobe blush with embarrassment. Tragically, however, she is by far the strongest of the grown-ups.

That said, it`s the kids that hold most of the dialogue, and they more than make up for their elders` flaws with a combination of comic timing and emotional empathy almost akin to the Goonies crew. The overall Scooby Doo feel is evident throughout, not only in the team`s mystery-solving capabilities, but right down to the Hanna-Barbera-esque soundtrack and even a delightful little Freleng Door Gag.

Exciting for kids, and with enough quips to keep grown-ups equally entertained, Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? is a charming and funny British murder mystery to keep the whole family enchanted.

3.5 / 5

 

Dir: Tim Clague, Danny Stack

Scr: Tim Clague, Danny Stack

Starring: Bonnie Wright, Loretta Walsh, Hattie Gotobed, James Grogan, J.J. Brown

Prd: Jan Caston, Tim Clague, Danny Stack

DOP: Sam Morgan Moore

Music: Titas Petrikis

Country: UK

Year: 2015

Run Time: 82mins

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