Director: Jules Bishop
Writer: Jules Bishop
Starring: Philip Davis, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Juliet Oldfield
It’s times like this that I am grateful for Kickstarter. Just wow. Borrowed Time is a British independent film that features the writing and directing debut of Jules Bishop and tackles some of the social issues faced in Britain in a funny, upbeat, and gritty way. If you a British teenager, please go see this, you won’t regret it. It’s the film equivalent of a UKYA book.
The story takes place in East London, and follows Kevin (Theo Barklem-Biggs), a guy who just wants to get his mother’s clock back for his sister after he pawned it away. Unfortunately, to get hold of the money to buy back the clock, he gets involved with “Ninja” Nigel (Warren Brown), and ends up owing him money. This leads him to cross paths with pensioner Phillip (Phil Davies) and an unlikely bond is formed.
This is British film as it should be. Never afraid to tackle issues and it does it in an intelligent and witty way. And in a time where both youth and elderly are demonized by the rest of society, there couldn’t be a better time for it. This was writer and director Jules Bishop’s debut, and his vision was seen throughout. I attended a Q+A for the film, and he came from a similar background to the film, which could be seen through the honesty and social realism that he painted. It’s also very hard to describe how funny the film was, because it was funny in the way real life can be funny. It’s like those little moments you share with your mates, except it’s on the big screen.
There were some very strong characters seen through the film, whether it be nutty Ninja Nigel, or bitter Phillip, to shy, understated Kevin, and every part was well acted. The speech was very natural and clever, which I found impressive as I feel that usually young people’s speech can go awry in films. Phil Davies and Theo Barklem-Biggs was a strange pair, but they made it work. Most importantly, they channelled these very real issues affecting their characters and the prejudices each have towards each other.
On a small note, I also really loved the little motifs that cropped up. Time in the title, and time in the nature. The clock references were a constant reminder of the coming of age for Kevin, and the passing of time for Phillip. The film was also shot on 16mm film and not on digital, which basically meant that it had the grainy, traditional quality to a film. This added to the “rough-around-the-edges” feel it had.
In a time where “urban” films are dark and violent, it was refreshing to find one upbeat but never drawing away from the seriousness of the issues it tackled. For me, Borrowed Time addressed the real truth of London life, it’s dark and dangerous, but it’s still life, so it’s also sweet and fun. And it’s that range of emotions which ultimately captured my love. I can’t wait to see what Jules Bishop does next.
Overall: A clever, witty take on urban youth in London, and I thought it was simply fantastic.