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Cycles (2022) Film Review

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

★★

Directed by: ##OscarWenmanHyde

 

An apprehensive young man moves into university halls, and the sudden feeling of isolation forces him into an argument with his older brother about identity, love, and the repression of dreams.


Cycles (2022) is a small scale drama, set for the majority of the one hour run time in the depressingly bleak undressed student accommodation bedroom, which many viewers will surely be familiar with. It is a debut feature for many of the cast and crew and was only made on a micro budget of under £1000, seeking to explore the increasingly significant social issue of student mental health across the UK.


In the film, the protagonist, pointedly named Younger Brother (Henry Fisk) experiences anxiety and a daunting feeling of isolation from the moment he and Older Brother (Henry Wilson) arrive in a new city. The movie pans out in a similar style to a stage play, with some nice establishing shots of the unnamed British city, followed by the brothers entering the younger’s new accommodation and proceeding to converse about the many issues which have laid unspoken between them for years.


Cycles (2022) poster

The concept is intriguing and very relevant in its examination of a major problem which is often not spoken about enough in today’s society. The film is all the more authentic and deeply honest in its execution as director Oscar Wenman-Hyde based the screenplay on his own similar experience. The movie is a very personal one, with a down to earth setting and flawed characters who both find it difficult to express their feelings openly and find a common ground with each other.


Although its intentions are well realised and admirable, the film does suffer from the sparseness of its location and heavy reliance on dialogue driven scenes to hold our attention. The grey, lifeless bedroom the brothers converse in is clearly important for representing the themes of isolation and loneliness, however, this also damages the film’s overall entertainment value. There are some very good emotionally charged scenes, where the brothers discuss the roots of their issues with one another and eventually appear to find consolation, yet the run time may be a little stretched for the simplicity of its content.


The direction is mostly serviceable, with a heavy reliance on over the shoulder shots and some questionable shots towards the end where both actors speak directly at the camera as they address each other. However, it is of course difficult to find creative ways to film in a confined space and there is some nice blocking at play, where Wenman-Hyde constantly has his actors move about the setting to keep things at least somewhat visually interesting.


Whilst the strong screenplay does much of the heavy lifting for establishing a long history between the brothers, the performances can be a bit mixed. Henry Fisk as Younger Brother is arguably the best out of the two, portraying believable anxiety and quiet reflective qualities, whilst Wilson as Older Brother does sometimes fall slack, but a very good effort from both nonetheless.


Overall, Cycles is a commendable exploration of an increasingly relevant social issue in the UK today and features an authentic screenplay, with relatable characters and realistic drama. It is unfortunately let down by the restrictions of its location.


Cycles is currently available to buy and rent on Amazon Prime.

 

Cycles (2022) trailer:


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