Benjamin Verrall’s film is a quirky, low-key but basically underpowered British indie set in Lewes, East Sussex, and although it never quite came alive as a film, there are some nice moments. It could work well as a pilot for a TV series.
Tony (Steve Watts) is a gentle, sensitive middle-aged guy without a partner who owns an independent publishing company and regularly visits his aged mum (Lucinda Curtis) who is in a care home. Alison (Isabella Marshall) is his office manager, a woman on whom Tony, in his muddled emotional state, has persuaded himself he has a crush. The firm employs shy, difficult young Alf (Howard Perret) to create promotional videos to advertise their books on social media, and Alf has a talent somewhere between Jim Henson and Michel Gondry. Poor Alf is falling hard for Josie (Sophia Carpasso) who – like him – is an artist.
All the performances are capably managed and the determinedly downbeat style works reasonably well on its own terms, although there is an outlying flash of intensity when Tony reads aloud a poem by John Clare, in comparison with which the rest of the dialogue is a bit subdued, though Capasso has a good “breakup” speech.
The daytime-soap aspect of Incidental Characters is something with potential, and Verrall has undoubted talent. In a television series, these characters would have the space to breathe more, and the energy levels could be ramped up.
• Incidental Characters is released in the UK on 21 February.
Source: The Guardian