The Violators (2015)

June 14th, 2016
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director.: Helen Walsh

Cast: Lauren McQueen, Brogan Ellis, Stephen Lord, Liam Aisnworth, Derek Barr, Challum King Chadwick

97min | Drama | UK 2015

Novelist turned filmmaker Helen Walsh sets her debut feature The Violators in and around the sink estates of Birkenhead (Cheshire), a grim post-industrial heartland. Ultra-realistic in tone and supremely acted by the two female teenagers, Walsh’ script plays with the underlying sexual motives of female solidarity before a dramatic final rush destroys the intricacies that take place beforehand.

Sixteen year-old Lauren (Mc Queen) has to look after her two brothers – the adult, near catatonic Andy (Barr) and the schoolboy Jerome (Chadwick) – in their rundown council flat. Lauren strikes up an unlikely friendship with Rachel (Ellis), who lives in a posh house in a gated complex. Lauren showers Rachel with gifts a in a relationship that seems  impenetrable and enigmatic. But Lauren panics and turns to middle-aged pawnbroker Mikey (Lord) when she hears that their violent father is to be released from prison. The would-be sugar-daddy exploits her sexually and when she discovers that their father is not coming home she then turns to her neighbour, a friendly army cadet Kieran (Ainsworth). With the audience still wondering about the implications of the Lauren/Rachel relationship, Walsh decides to deny all the previous festering malevolence, opting for a dramatic finale. But the botched ending is not the only problems with The Violators. Walsh’s underwhelming script leaves too many unanswered questions to satisfy the shroud of seething tension created by first time cinematographer Tobin Jones’ dark and eerie images, which are the most potent element of this edgy drama; with the teenage leads impressively acting out the individual nuances of their quiet emotional despair. AS



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