Those who have heard of Simon Rumley in America are likely to be familiar with his work in horror anthologies above all else. Though his psychological thriller Red, White and Blue was met with acclaim, we have only seen installments among many other directors since then. The last portion of Little Deaths was Rumley's, and one of the most tasteless sequences of The ABCs of Death also belongs to this British filmmaker. These films were my first impression of Rumley as a filmmaker, which is a shame.
I would have gone ahead thinking that he was just another tasteless horror director had I not been introduced to these three independent British films. He has fallen a great deal as an artist with the increase of a budget and international acclaim, which is apparent by the fact that these three lower-than-low budget films are far more engaging. These films are dialogue heavy and solidly acted, while his latest additions to cinema have been less thought-provoking and more visceral. These three films set in 1990s London are inspired by Richard Linklater's first three films, Slacker, Dazed and Confused and Before Sunrise, though I found there to be aspects of Mike Leigh's Naked and some of John Cassavetes' classics.
The first film is Strong Language, which was released in 2000 and almost appears to be a documentary at first. The film is a boldly simple premise which is only completely clear in the final moments of the film, allowing for a minimal budget and some of the simplest camera set-ups you could imagine. Though there are seventeen characters in the film, none appear together on camera. The entire film is comprised of naturalistic appearing interviews, with characters discussing a seemingly random variety of topics directly to the camera. The most mysterious character tells a story as the eclectic group of young people prattle on, connected only once the story is complete. The DVD for Strong Language includes a premiere featurette and the film's trailer.
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