A Night and Some Change
Feb 10, 2023
Ines Badila, Richard Logun, Jack Maddison, Lanya Matthews, Fiona Pirie
To shoot a film in black and white shouldn’t ever just be a stylistic choice. There should always be some deeper meaning or value in choosing a monochrome colour palette, yet ‘A Night and Some Change’ seemingly lacks any reason - there is nothing lurking in the shadows, and nothing brought out by the black and white which couldn’t be expressed otherwise. That is indicative of the rest of the film, which begins promisingly, and is good in many aspects, yet ultimately amounts to little in the way of profundity.
We begin with a woman dancing around a studio. What at first appears to be rhythmic becomes more angered, as though she’s channeling all her emotion into this one dance. I suppose that’s what dancing, like any art form, is like. Beginning without words, only the sound of a piano and the image of woman dancing is a bold way to begin a film, and one which suggests a level of competency and depth in its message. Though ‘A Night and Some Change' is undoubtedly competent, with Eke Chukwu’s direction at times mesmerising, it lacks the complexity to push it to greater to heights.
That’s because Esme Allman’s screenplay, though never blocky in terms of dialogue, fails in terms of subtext, leaving the film feeling rather empty. This means that it's hard to become invested in the affairs of the film's characters, all creative types, as they deal with issues of love, friendship and the mounting pressures of adulthood.
Anya (Ines Badila) has recently moved to London from Paris in order to become a dance teacher, and has taken a whole lot of baggage across the channel with her, not all of which can be completely shaken off. Moving in with Kenny (Richard Logun) and Joel (Jack Maddison), there is a suggestion that a romantic triangle could develop between the three of them, with the interactions between each bearing hallmarks of attraction. Kenny and Joel are clearly longstanding friends, but there is a hint of something more, though it also appears that both may have their own feelings towards Anya.
Things are cordial, if a little awkward when the trio decide to go out to an eerily deserted bar in the evening, where they meet Dylan (Lanya Matthews) and Emilia (Fiona Price). There is a sense that these two characters were intended to be of greater prominence, but instead end up feeling like half-developed caricatures - the petulant chaos causer and a woman with a deeply troubled background.
Still, Eke Chukwu's direction is promising, even with the questionable and seemingly redundant decision to shoot in black and white. Frames are competently held together, and Chukwu films all movement with a kind of rhythm not too dissimilar from the dancer.
Ultimately, however, while 'A Night and Some Change' may be stylistically impressive, it lacks a substance in its screenplay which Chukwu's impressive direction, and competent acting all round, is unable to make up for. It's not quite being short-changed, but the disappointment that 'A Night and Some Change' doesn't build upon it's promising opening is only slightly less dissatisfying.