Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Directed by: #DominicJackson
Written by: Dominic Jackson
Polar Movie Review
Told in the dogme 95 style, #filmmaker Dominic Jackson's indie film Polar is a mumblecore drama that attempts to explore the central character's alcoholism and emotional fragility through a warts and all storytelling approach.
Drew Horner plays the lead role of Robin, a down and out whom relies on his enabling best friend Steve (Rotimi Pearce) for employment, good times, and companionship. Through a myriad of drinking sessions, hangovers, and failed attempts at chatting up women, we learn more about Robin's substance abuse and the worrying state of his mental health. What will it take to get him on the right path when everything in his environment has been cultivated to nurture his negative habits and attitudes?
Impressively cinematic for such a small budget (apparently just £100 - most of which presumably went on getting the tinnies in), Polar is a worthy UK indie film that makes a potent concoction from a few small but essential ingredients. First of which is Horner in the lead role. His portrayal of an alcoholic is raw, daring and compelling, easily the most engaging aspect of the movie. His chemistry with Pearce, whilst overloaded with the phrase "bro", feels genuine and keeps the viewer glued to the relationship, apparently utilising some improvisation to aid the #dogme95 style. As we see more and more that Steve is not necessarily a healthy companion for Robin, the sequences where the latter falls victim to his addition become increasingly harrowing to watch.
Much of the #filmmaking is simple but effective. Long, static shots are often used for dialogue heavy scenes. A few pieces of flair are thrown in for good measure, such as a long distance opening shot or a quick cut edit of Robin handing out flyers, but for the most part audiences can expect a gritty and intimate approach to the visual aspects of the piece. There is some brilliant music provided by Hector and the Leaves which made Polar feel akin to another quintessentially British movie (quintessential for different reasons) like Notting Hill.
Where the outing stumbled is the loose plot. Robin's odyssey through: drinking too much, getting on tubes, and fumbling through exchanges with fairly forgiving women, felt monotonous and lacked the infusion of redemption. His crude and embarrassing behaviour was not balanced with enough warming material for the viewer to become fully sympathetic to his character, so instead of feeling invested in his quest for self love we become a numbed bystander to his folly.
Impressive British filmmaking with a crushing narrative that goes deep into self abuse. It goes a little too deep and forgets to leave a way to get itself out.
Watch the Movie Trailer:
The film is currently available to watch on Amazon - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/video/detail/B07XFH5BHW/