Between Two Worlds is the debut film from writer Stephen Morris and follows the story of the broken hearted writer Ryan, played by Chris Mason, as he tries to adapt to his new life in London away from his home town of Liverpool. The plot focuses on his life as he gets dragged from party to party by his two friends Connor (Lucien Laviscount) and John (played by rapper turned actor Elliot Greave aka ‘Example’). In theory, this film sounded so promising that I initially was excited to see some new blood in both worlds of acting and writing but unfortunately leaves much to be desired.
This film is just under 100 minutes long and it falls into the trap of trying to do too much in such a small period of time. In total there are 12 characters, which is just too many, as they all suffer from severe underdevelopment from scenes that were rushed as the plot tries to progress. Apart from the initial introduction, which is even done in the trailer for the film, we learn nothing about the two friends Connor and John, other than the fact that one is an actor and the other works for a hedge-fund. This underdevelopment means that it is almost impossible to bond with the characters emotionally. One of the many plot points of the film is that Ryan is struggling to move on after the death of his mother, but that is all that he says on the matter. We never find out when or how she dies which I personally found infuriating. There is nothing other than a couple of flash backs the audience is given to support their relationship which leave viewers unsympathetic, and even unconvinced, by Ryan’s pain.
On top of all this underdevelopment, there seems to be no chemistry between the actors themselves. I do not know if this is because of the actors or the writing or a culmination of both, but the pauses within and between lines seems nothing but awkward. Even the scenes with the antagonist, Ryan’s manager Freddie (Charlie Anson), did nothing but make me cringe. Scenes supposed to induce a sense of tension or fear were so clichéd that it came across as humorous.
However, the one thing that perhaps annoyed me the most about this whole film was the rushed plot. Morris attempts to give each of the 6 principal characters a sub-plot. Which creates just too many plot holes to count. The main clutch of Ryan’s anger, sadness and frustration at being unable to write seems to revolve around his breakup with his girlfriend Lucy. And in fact the first time the audience encounters her she is with a new man. However, less that two days later, this man has vanished to the winds to allow Lucy to sleep with Connor and no explanation is given as to why she decides to randomly sleep with him, or what has happened to her ‘boyfriend’.
The one saving grace of the whole movie as the actress Hannah Britland, who gives such a convincing performance as the love interest Anna. She is just such a breath of fresh air in this whole film, which seems understandable as she is by far the most experienced actor in the cast with films like ‘Rush’ and television shows like Fresh Meat and Skins under her belt.
This film showed such initial promise. However, like most first time film writers frequently make the mistake of doing, too much was tried in too little time. Fortunately, there were snippets of well written dialogue such as the end dialogue between Ryan and Anna, and there is a really touching scene on the London Underground after their first date where they play a game involving guessing the other passenger’s music tastes. So I know that Stephen Morris is worth keeping an eye on in the future and hopefully this will be a great learning experience for him.