There is a trope when it comes to gritty British films that they are always set in the north of the country and they always have thing ting of grey to them.
For the most part, this can’t be helped because of the good old British weather, but there have been numerous films where giving a film a “dark” feel in place of any real emotion has in many ways saturated the idea of the classic British Drama.
But in Rene van Pannevis’ Looted there seems to be new life put into this genre of cinema, as they have injected a huge dose of emotion into their film.
The director’s debut feature follows the double life led by Rob (Charley Palmer Rothwell) who switches between stealing cars for profit and pleasure with caring for his bed-bound, terminally ill father Oswald (Tom Fisher).
When we first met Rob, he is busy with his ragtag group of friends stealing a car to take to some workshop to sell on where his best friend, Leo (Thomas Turgoose) sets up another “big job” for the pair.
From this moment we see the struggle going on in Rob’s head. Wanting to be part of the gang and earning money so he can provide for him and his dad, but then on the flip side having a rather volatile relationship with the man he cares for because of the strain his illness is putting on their relationship.
Rothwell plays the role of the emotional roller-coaster, which rob is, incredibly well, using a lot of facial expressions to convey to the camera what is going on in his mind when the exterior may be displaying something else. The person who acts as the glue that holds everything together is Kasia (Morgane Polanski, daughter of director Roman) who Oswald takes a shine to and becomes close with. Like Rothwell, Polanski’s facials tell the story, from the nervous, anxious look in her eyes when she first meets Oswald to the calming, shy smile she gives, her character is key to helping the narrative move along.
This film is an extreme look at a person taking responsibility for their actions and what the consequences could be. But peel away the layers this is an emotional journey of a strained relationship between father and son.
It is fair to say that Pannevis is not reinventing the wheel with Looted, but the emotional investment you have for each character is what really drives this film, and it is certain there will be many people who see elements of themselves in the relationship between Rob and Oswald and maybe make them take a longer look at themselves and how they can do better.
Dir: Rene van Pannevis
Scr: Rene van Pannevis
Run time: 89 minutes
Looted is available on all major VOD platforms including Curzon Home Cinema now