Indie Film Review by Chris Olson
Facebook stalking is pretty commonplace nowadays. With the evolvement of social media as a substitution for human interaction, and the increased desire for digital approval meaning fewer limitations on what people deem as “suitable for sharing with the world”, the most likely source of information on most people these days is on their Facebook page. What happens, though, when the cyber personality you share online with the world is not known by a real human being? If someone had no family or real connections, and then went missing, who would know? The answer…that person’s Facebook stalker.
#DrunksLikeUs is a hilarious fairytale for the digital age. The story follows Mark (Andrew Regan), who, after waiting for a reply from Polish friend Diane (Vivienne Smith), whom he only knows online, decides to take his two inebriated pals, Alex (Luke Griffin) and Pete (Paul Mackie) on a road trip to Sunderland to find her - using clues from her Facebook page.
The journey becomes an adventure across rural landscapes, involving surly shop owners, psychotic flatmates, and a car explosion straight out of South Park (the funniest moment in the film). As the trio drink and stumble their way across northern England, tensions start running high when it becomes possible that Diane's disappearance may having something to do with the person she claimed to have been "following her".
With a fantastic penchant for humour, Mackie’s story under Simpson’s direction offers up a worthy British comedy that pulls no punches and takes no prisoners. The three central performances are wonderfully sculpted, in particular Regan whose emotional turmoil at finding Diane is beautifully juxtaposed by his frustration at his drunken buddies, who offer help and hindrance in equal measure.
There is a humility and believability to #DrunksLikeUs which is much appreciated, and even though a degree of jovial absurdity exists, the film moves in a very authentic way which avoids falling into the “farce” bucket. Furthermore, whilst not everyone will enjoy vulgarity of Alex or the wasted nature of the trio as a whole, you almost certainly will be able to relate to their characters, perhaps even knowing people just like them, or should I say #DrunksLikeThem.
The themes of the movie are well explored, in particular the social commentary on our dependency on technology. At one point, after the excellent car explosion, the boys lose signal on their phones. Alex, an ardent hater of the modern age, revels in the situation, stating “Your all-singing all-dancing highfalutin hypnotic wank machines have let you down when it means the most”. With a hash tag title, twitter handles in the opening credits, and the film coming to fruition after Mackie posted the script on Twitter, many aspects of #DrunksLikeUs are directly pointed at the modern age. Which is contrasted brilliantly with the 80’s style adventure-comedy plot and the simple aesthetics of the movie, which does not rely on any technical wizardry to distract the audience.
Aside from a slightly misjudged narration, #DrunksLikeUs is a great achievement from these boys and girls. The script is sharp and wonderfully timed, with Regan, Mackie, and Griffin delivering hearty laughs, whilst the nostalgic nature of the plot has a wide appeal.