A small family of travellers find themselves surrounded by trouble from the locals in the gritty British thriller Woodfalls. Check out our review.
Having seen such directors as Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Shane Meadows and, more recently, Andrea Arnold have success by tackling gritty dramas about the working class of Britain, it’s good to see a new and emerging talent in writer/director David Campion. Campion had previously made the short film Patrol Men and is currently in post production for his next feature She Lived on Franklin Avenue.
Co-written alongside Ben Simpson, Woodfalls is an engaging tale that revolves around a small family of travellers. Billy (Matthew Ferdenzi), his sister Rebecca (Michelle Crane) and their mother have set their caravan on a field in the south of England and they soon find some unwanted attention from the local dregs of society, including Damon (Gareth Bennett-Ryan) – the wannabe son of a drug-dealing dad who has troubles of his own.
Although Billy’s mother is old-school and is determined to keep the traditional traveller ways in her family, her children desire interaction and adventures with similarly aged people from other backgrounds. Of course, this leads to trouble and a series of incidents that will change the lives of the family for ever.
Although this was the first film from David Campion we have been fortunate to watch, we have to say we were mightily impressed. From the involving, hard-hitting story, to some slick visuals, Woodfalls is a terrific achievement, especially when you take into account that only a minuscule budget was used. The performances from all the actors were strong, especially from the main players in Ferdenzi, Crane and Bennett-Ryan; all three young actors came across as veterans of the stage and screen.
The score and audio are all strong, forgiving the odd few moments of slightly out-of-sync ADR. I was utterly impressed with the photography; Louis Corallo, who was the cinematographer on Woodfalls, manages to capture some sterling imagery, albeit in the bars, nightclubs, drug dens and English fields.
To recap, Woodfalls is an excellent debut for film maker David Campion. It’s not without some minor faults, but it is gripping with some super performances from a young cast. Now our appetite is truly whetted for She Lived on Franklin Avenue.
You can watch Woodfalls for yourselves, by going on Amazon and renting the movie.
For UK viewers, click HERE
For US Viewers click HERE