Red Herring (2023)

April 29th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Kit Vincent | UK Doc 94′

Childhood seemed like an endless journey of discovery for filmmaker Kit Vincent until he was diagnosed with cancer and given four to eight years to live at the tender age of 24.

Terrible news, so much so that his father collapsed with a heart attack – quite literally. And in his debut feature Red Herring it rapidly becomes clear that Kit’s devastating condition affects his close family just as much as himself. And so the film takes over, their daily lives together becoming the main focus – rather than the concer.

But not everyone is as keen as Kit in being part of the film and not least his girlfriend Isobel, the two will embark on fertility treatment and she naturally wants these conversations to remain private, unlike kit whose way of coping is to share everything including his seizures and key parts of his treatment. Kit’s father Lawrence, a professor and former college principal, is certainly a strong character and draws on his recent conversion to the Jewish faith for guidance, and this leads to some fascinating philosophical chats with his son. Kit’s mother, a healthcare worker, finds a way of dealing with the personal rather than professional trauma by immersing herself in raising a brood of chickens.

Conversations with his family often bring up difficult episodes in Kit’s childhood and provide a beneficial therapy for dealing with the past. In this way they all thrash out their feelings and these scenes give Red Herring a positive often moving spin in contrast to the darker moments. Well-paced at 94 minutes, the director never loses sight of the film’s cinematic quality.

Kit is adamant about not wanting to make a depressing film about impending death and he certainly succeeds. Red Herring is first and foremost about a family fronting up to an uncertain future and the transformative dynamics that come into play as each member reacts to changing circumstances in their own personal way.  And for that it’s a watchable and uplifting triumph. @MeredithTaylor





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