Heartlands

Gentle, quirky follow-up to East Is East

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OPENS MAY 2, CERT 12A, 90 MINS

Damien O’Donnell took his time choosing a follow-up to his hit debut, East Is East. And this gentle, small-scale drama may come as something of a surprise to anyone expecting more broad, bawdy comedy. In many ways, it doesn’t feel like a British film?thematically, it’s not dissimilar to David Lynch’s The Straight Story, but the tone of this slow-burning, quirky character study is at times closer to contemporary Japanese cinema, such as Takeshi Kitano’s Hana Bi. Contextually, however, it’s English through and through.

Darts fan Colin (Michael Sheen) is content to have never left his small Midlands town. His modest ambitions were mostly fulfilled when he married childhood sweetheart Sandra. But when she runs off to Blackpool with the captain of the darts team, Colin pursues her through the countryside on his Honda moped, meeting assorted travellers along the way. His voyage of self-discovery is beautifully illustrated by Alwin Kuchler’s superb cinematography in what is a genuinely heart-warming film.

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