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Detective Inspector

average rating is 2 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Dec 5, 2022

Film Reviews
Detective Inspector
Directed by:
Morgan O'Callaghan
Written by:
Morgan O'Callaghan and Jonny Brookes
Toby Haycock, George Everett-Button, Tom Bryer, Matthew Hoad

The first thing that you really begin to notice as you settle in to watch Detective Inspector from writer/director Morgan O'Callaghan is just how young everyone in the production seems to be. Said Detective Inspector, Sean Newman (Haycock) is no street hardened, chain smoking, grizzled old alcoholic who's way past his prime and living off the prestige gained during the salad days of his youth, but is himself a skinny drip of a teenager wearing what looks like his Dad's trenchcoat and sporting actual bumfluff on his chin. Similarly, DC Harvey Price (Everett-Button) looks like he's just come straight from finishing his A-levels, nabbing himself a promoted position on the force despite being barely old enough to drive, and the same goes for all the other coppers on the beat. The old saying goes that doctors and policemen seem to keep getting younger and younger but this is getting ridiculous.


If we track back a couple of years to 2020 we can find that O'Callaghan helmed an hour long feature called The Arsonist, which was a precursor to today's film but which O'Callaghan prefers to call a cousin to Detective Inspector. The Arsonist was basically put together and filmed by a bunch of seventeen year old friends and so now, two years later, we have another attempt at a similar story with a lot of the same characters, this time presumably made by a bunch of nineteen year olds. Don't worry if you've not seen The Arsonist though as there's a short montage sequence at the start of this film detailing the events of two years ago, filling us in on what we need to know.


Thankfully, we don't really need to catch up on much as plotting and narrative are not the production's strong points. The story now is, I think, that Mayor Gibson (Hoad) is bumping off political rivals and strengthening his grip on the power he holds over the island community of Canterstone. There's some other stuff going on at the start involving a stand-off and a shoot-out with a bit of a switcheroo and a surprise reveal jammed in there, too, but to be honest the scripting and acting are so amateurly handled that it's hard to be sure of anything that's going on. Anyway, it's up to DI Newman and his squad to root out the corruption at the top and free the good citizens of Canterstone from its clutches.


Over the next hour and a quarter the young coppers do their best to follow the leads, question witnesses and figure out just who's pulling the strings while also trying their hardest to remember their lines and not to smile during their delivery. There are some notable pauses in the dialogue and a few sharp, inconsistent turns in the plot which seem to come out of nowhere, but at least everyone seems to be having fun as they run through the story and get their faces on camera.


The production itself seems to fit together pretty well with the direction and sound design keeping the story running all the way through without any major hiccups. In saying that though, the film judders along as though its frame rate is a little too low to keep things looking smooth, there are a couple of times when the audio drops out to almost nothing and there's a strange choice of using Clair de Lune during a chase sequence. The interview scene when all the boys fall apart simply because there's a pretty girl on set (the only one in the entire film) is also quite laughable, though not in a good way.


In amongst all of this there are a few nice shots to be found, especially from the aerial photography, and the charisma and sheer drive of the young film-makers comes through on screen. There are a couple of nice moments with incidental characters and the plot might well actually work in the round, if only it could be tidied up, expressed clearly and introduced with some kind of lead in or background to shore it up. It's obvious that everyone is having a blast while creating this film, and even though it's real jumpers for goalposts film-making, hopefully the cast and crew will use what they've learned on this project to carry forward and improve upon in the (inevitable) next instalment in the Detective Inspector series.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Indie Feature Film
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