Directed by: #KemalYildirim
Based on a true story, “Rose” is a thriller that leads with a fantastic narrative, but is ultimately let down in its execution.
Directed by Kemal Yildirim, this is a story that has incredible potential, but instead leaves its audience with a confusing script and an obsession with violence.
Rose situates a young woman (Helen Clifford) in the fictional town of Hellville, who has resorted to prostitution to support her drug habit and her young daughter, Ellie (Chelsea Alcock). When she betrays the proclaimed ‘Czar of Hellville,’ Blondie (Mike Mitchell), he becomes enraged and seeks to punish her. Rose, along with Ellie and fighter Tony (Patrick Regis) seek to escape Blondie’s dictatorship and find a better life together.
The film itself was originally screened at Cannes #filmfestival as a short film and, due to its positive reception, was made into this full-length feature. Stephen Loveless and Jack James wrestle with a script that has the potential to be incredibly well-told, but is ultimately seedy in tone, confusing and unfortunately a little dragged out in the middle. Elements of the story, too, were lost to the audience; halfway through the film we suddenly begin to follow Blondie’s character and his almost James Bond-esque scenes – the purpose of which is not entirely clear. Although this sought to explain his motives, this diversion definitely took attention away from Rose’s story.
Much of the film too, was steeped in violence – often of a sexualized nature – which was incredibly unsettling to watch. This aspect of the film was overdone in that the brutality of it could have been potentially harmful for some viewers to watch. Despite this, the acting from Clifford and Regis in these hard-hitting moments was fantastic and struck up immense empathy for both Rose and Tony as they struggle to escape Hellville.
There was definite merit in the film’s #cinematography and editing work. Jason Impey’s ability to effectively shoot fast-paced scenes was in-keeping with the somberness of the film, making it look like the shots had been taken straight from a video game. Filmed in Northampton, the camerawork gives the town a chilling and dark edge. These were edited amongst flashing shots of characters during their personal downfalls, allowing the audience to understand a little more about the interior of each character and what they have been through. This insight was very effective and helped with the narrative.
Production-wise, the team working on the feature was extensive! Yildirim enlisted the help of a very large cast of extras to play prostitutes, children in the park and nightclub-goers in the larger, more public locations. This indeed made each scene very well fleshed out, creating an atmosphere in where the dialogue cannot. The look and feel of the film was a highlight as it catered to what should have been the primary focus throughout; Rose’s story.
Kemal Yildirim’s production skills certainly set him apart and it will be exciting to see where he takes his upcoming films. Rose stands out as incredibly well-produced, but at-times unclear and extremely uncomfortable to watch.