Explaining the plot of Pelican Blood may actually put you off it but I’ll do so anyway. It’s a standard review tool so bear with me.
Nikko (played, in a superb performance, by Harry Treadaway) is a birdwatcher and the best birdwatcher amongst his small band of mates. He’s also recently survived a suicide attempt, prompted by his breakup with Stevie (Emma Booth, both beautiful and talented). When Stevie re-enters his life his friends and his sister think it spells trouble, the pair initially met on some “suicide” website, but Nikko does not want to hear that. He wants to be allowed to love the woman he loves even if it’s only until he reaches his magical 500 number of different birds spotted before he aims to once again attempt to take his own life.
Okay, that plot summary MAY have intrigued you but it still doesn’t cover everything this movie offers. As much a look at the way people can deal with depression as it is a loving look at those with OCDs, this movie isn’t easily labelled. It’s part love story, part comedy, part drama and part affectionate look at birdwatchers.
All of the performances are great (as well as the two leads we get standout turns from Ali Craig as Bish, Athur Darvill as Cameron and pretty much everyone else who has a major part in the proceedings), the dialogue is smart, witty and always appropriate for the character speaking and there’s also a great soundtrack. It’s an independent Brit flick full of some inherent cool style and warmth I haven’t really seen produced since the unjustly neglected Shooting Fish.
Nikko is a sweet guy but a complex one, his mind continually in turmoil while his body sometimes just goes through the motions of carrying on with life. To call Stevie the quirky gal he’s in love with is to do her an injustice. Her character is a step removed from the usual indie “I’m cute but kooky” stereotypes as she upsets the apple cart and feels distinctly like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is a girl whose playful darkness can take root inside those who love her and grow into something best avoided. And the friends, Bish and Cameron, are consistently amusing.
Karl Golden, directing his first feature from Cris Cole’s screenplay, deserves a lot of praise. I may not have seen every single film available at EIFF 2010 but, from what I DID see, this one was the very best despite some stiff competition.
DIRECTOR: KARL GOLDEN
STARS: HARRY TREADAWAY, EMMA BOOTH, ALI CRAIG, ARTHUR DARVILL
RUNTIME: 99 MINS APPROX