Movie Review by Neil Sadler
Starring: Dougray Scott, Alastair MacKenzie, James Anthony Pearson
Director: Richard Jobson
After THE INTERNATIONAL and even QUANTUM OF SOLACE, financiers seem to be the movie writers new Nazis. NEW TOWN KILLERS follows 16 year-old Sean as he reluctantly agrees to play a deadly game of hide and seek with two ethically challenged bankers with the prize of clearing his sister’s debt.
The writer and Director Richard Jobson has honed his skills on music videos and his love of music as well as the Edinburgh landscape fills the screen. There is a great energy to the action but also a likeable realism to the settings and the many different aspects of the city. It aims to show the very different lives of the rich and the poor and also the worlds they inhabit – emphasizing the dehumanizing effect of these different lifestyles.
James Anthony Pearson as Sean – the hero of the film – manages to be both sympathetic, dynamic and also fallible, a good mix for this role. These films tend to skate the very fine line around believability but there are few times here where you do not feel the tension is real. It also manages to imply rather than show the violence on the whole and is much more frightening because of this.
Dougray Scott seems to relish the darkness of the character of Alistair. He presents us with an un-redeeming man who embodies arrogance and hatred. He even goes as far as to list his many hates in a game with his colleague James. There is one moment where he seems to offer a reason for his hatred but like all good villains, he is all the more terrifying for his lack of reason. You sense he does what he does simply because he can.
It is the relationship between these two main characters that is the strength of this film and raises it up a notch over other similar thrillers. Unfortunately it can’t prevent there being a sense of deja vu about the plot. It suffers in comparison with FUNNY GAMES, which has a far more potent message and lacks the bangs and budget of larger films like THE INTERNATIONAL. But NEW TOWN KILLERS is an enjoyable and thought-provoking film which shows its stars and its locations off in a very good light.