Saturday 11 May 2013

Nice Guy [2012]

The independent film Nice Guy, the assured feature debut of Pascal Bergamin, is a bleak chronicle of an Everyday Joe whose life starts slipping from under his feet after he finds himself unemployed. David (Cavan Clerkin, who, interestingly, was also the film’s writer), the titular Londoner, stays at home looking after his kid while his wife goes for work. With his male-ego hurt, emotional distance developing with his wife, and his life in a limbo, he starts wandering to a pub which makes him feel alive. However, unbeknownst to him, the place is infested with hard-edged mobsters, and when he accidentally ends up witnessing a murder, he finds his morose life spiraling out of his control as he is plunged into a nightmarish world of crime, violence and madness. The structure of a neo-noir was effectively used against post-2008 financial crisis to allegorically portray the devastation that unforeseen unemployment can cause to an otherwise normal upper-middle class family. Jerky camera movements and extreme close-ups during the beginning and the end were smartly alternated with a more staid approach in the middle to counterpoint the tone and accentuate David’s increasing panic, paranoia and desperation. Clerkin did a competent job in his portrayal of a regular guy and the quintessential 'tragic hero' prototype in classic noirs at the wrong end of Murphy’s Law. Though essentially very different characters, one might just find a hint of Harry Fabian, from Dassin’s masterful Brit-noir Night & the City, in the way David’s life so spectacularly crumbles, leading to its surprising final shot that was reminiscent of the way Billy Costigan met his end, out of the blue, in The Departed.

p.s. Mr. Pascal Bergamin was kind enough to contact me and send me a copy of the movie. I wish him a great Indie and filmmaking career ahead.

Director: Pascal Bergamin
Genre: Drama/Crime Drama/Post-Noir
Language: English
Country: UK

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