This Is Not A Love Song movie reviewThis Is Not A Love Song review

This Is Not A Love Song

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This Is Not A Love Song
Directed by Bille Eltringham

Starring: Michael Colgan, Kenny Glenaan, David Bradley, John Henshaw
Running Time: 1:34
Country: UK
Year: 2002
Rarely has a title been so appropriate. The British film This Is Not A Love Song proves to be such an excruciating experience.

Just after picking up his buddy Spike (Michael Colgan) who's been released from jail, Heaton (Kenneth Glenaan) runs out of gas in the English countryside. Looking for gas-and more-on a nearby farm, they struggle with a farmer and in the process Spike kills his daughter with a shotgun. Chased by angry locals who have decided to take justice into their own hands, they will try to reach the closest city to escape the angry mob.

Director Billie Eltringham's work suffers from a total absence of originality and substance, her film looking like the bastard son of Trainspotting and Deliverance. Spike, a carbon copy of a Trainspotting character, is a dumb hooligan walking around with a boombox while Heaton is the badly shaved big brother figure who looks after him. The Rambo-like premise is obviously only a pretext to offer a succession of moments between the two characters. Unfortunately neither of the characters interesting nor are the dialogues witty or funny. While following the flat interaction and boring adventures of this duo we don't care about, one only hopes for the "mean farmers" to catch them soon so that our pain will finally be over.

Messy direction and plot holes provide additional obstacles, not to the partners-in-crime, but to the audience. Billie Eltringham's style oscillates between amateur digital filmmaking and unnecessary kinetic shots. The director is sometimes so busy playing with her camera like a maniac that she annihilates the impact of the scenes. Thus, we never get to understand how Spike could have killed the girl, even if he said it was an accident, because Eltringham was making big circles with the camera. In addition, the film is shot in the usual grainy de-saturated colors used to emphasize crisis in British social dramas, which totally undermines the beauty of the British countryside. As for the characters, we learn that Heathon served in the army (of course!), which allows a couple of out-of-the-blue Rambo-type tricks in the forest. In another scene, Heaton uses yellow plastic bags to make ponchos—a perfect camouflage, unless it's humor!

For those unfamiliar with P.I.L.'s anthem, "This Is Not A Love Song", the single is played as a recurrent theme throughout the movie; while trying to create some irony, it results in a lack of subtlety. In the end, we are left with the fact that Spike is dumb and a coward, what we knew from the beginning, and the feeling of having been robbed of the cost of a movie ticket by these two thugs.

  Fred Thom
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This Is Not A Love Song