Ludgate Hill short film review

★★★★★

Directed by: #TomFrancisKerby

Written by: #TomFrancisKerby

Starring: #MaxCross, #FrancescaZagajewska, #TimEdhouse

Film Review by: Darren Tilby



Time may well be the greatest healer, but there are some things that time simply can’t fix. For Charlie (Max Cross), that’s the departure, and seeming disappearance of his older sister, Shae (Francesca Zagajewska). Shae left when she was 18-years old, on a plane bound for, well…we never find out. Nor do we find out why she left, but we get the feeling this was the last time Charlie saw or heard from his sister. What happened to her? Where did she go? Now a grandparent, Charlie (Tim Edhouse) revisits the last memory of his sister – a picturesque white gate on Ludgate Hill – in a reflection of life, love and loss.


There’s a real sense of nostalgia in Ludgate Hill; a longing for the days of yesteryear rarely seen in films these days. It has this uncanny ability to dig deep into the viewer and force us to reflect on the losses of our own lives: family, childhood friends, or, quite simply, our childhood itself. It’s an atmosphere reminiscent of that which permeates Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me - his fantastic rendition of Stephen King’s classic novella, The Body.


The fact Tom Francis Kerby has achieved this with a movie only nine-minutes in length is a testament to his skill as a writer, efficiency as a director and the verity with which it was made. He knows what he wants his movie to be, and he got the right people to do it.


For me, Oliver Davis’ impressionistic cinematography is at the foreground of all of this. Everything is beautifully framed and – as if to accentuate the rose-tinted impression most of us hold of our childhood – displays a picture of naturalistic idealisation, but with an underlying sorrow. Davis even allows us time to reflect; occasionally lingering on the face of a character; a country lane; a body of water, never for long—just long enough.


These moments of reflection are where Composer Adam Orlowski’s diaphanous score comes into play. Succinct and movingly evocative, Orlowski’s musical accompaniment not only – perfectly – captures the intent of Davis’ imagery (elevating it in the process), but also resonates with a character-based thematic. Every character has a distinct sound; a unique feel. We can ascertain so much about them and how they’re feeling, by merely enjoying Orlowski’s magnificent work.


It helps, of course, that the performances themselves are superb. First-timers, Max Cross and Francesca Zagajewska, while inexperienced, radiate raw talent and give incredibly solid performances, and Tim Edhouse is the embodiment of a life shaped by loss and regret, while also being the very personification of our reminiscences.


Ludgate Hill is a superb and deeply affecting piece of short filmmaking that touched me on a very personal level. Even as I write this, looking back on my last viewing, many hours afterwards, there are tears welling in my eyes. It’s rare that I feel so profoundly connected to a movie I have absolutely no shared connection with, and yet here we are. Simply stunning.