Posted: 06/24/2004

 

The Frontline

(1993)

by Barry Meyer



Gritty British crime drama on a shoestring budget.


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Upon his release from a mental hospital, James (Vincent Phillips) re-kindles his relationship with pirate DJ Marion (Amanda Noar), helping her kick her nasty heroin addiction. Clean and sober, they decide to shake the horrors of their past and forge ahead with a new life. However, when Marion is found dead, the police ask James to believe that it was a suicide. But James has other ideas, and with the help of Marion’s father they hatch a plan to trap and expose the killer who has been protected by the authorities. A plan that leads to a tense and bloody showdown, played out in the media.

Director Paul Hills was once given some sound advice from a film professor who told him that his dream of making a feature film was about as likely an occurrence as being struck by lightening twice. With those words buzzing in his head, and with no filmmaking experience or money, Paul Hills rejected the piss poor odds and went ahead to make The Frontline, his gritty, brash debut feature film.

There is plenty to pick apart in this film … the narrative leaps, tired camera angles, a couple hammy performances … but to keep it in perspective, considering that this is a first time filmmaker, you gotta give it up to this guy. The Frontline, despite its flaws, is a fairly successful crime drama that mixes the ferocity of the violent British noir films like Nil By Mouth with the lower class struggles of a Mike Leigh film.

Barry Meyer is writer putting in his time in Jersey.



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