Film Review Blooded
Director: Ed Boase (2011)
Mocumentary (fake documentary in layman terms) about fox hunting toffs being terrorised by animal rights campaigners on a remote Scottish island. I’ll be honest, when I read the (better worded) blurb for Blooded I really didn’t have much interest in seeing it. Apart from seeing shots of the isle of Mull, this just seemed like it was going to be some lame British attempt at torture porn. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Mr Boase has created a film that’s an all round nice touch. Don’t get me wrong, it has its bad moments too, there’s an incredibly tedious opening to be navigated, and a very very weak soundtrack, but nit picking aside, this is a really engrossing film. And I think the reason for that is because, well to repeat myself, it’s because Mr Boase has an exceedingly nice touch.
To explain why, I first have to indulge in a little film geek know-it-all rant, please excuse me and feel free to skip a paragraph;
Let’s face it, mocumentaries have been done to death, it began way back before you could show boobs on screen and peaked about the time the creators of Blair Witch had an idea every poorly budgeted filmmaker (me) wishes they’d done first. It’s crept into the mainstream long since and is so established it has its own place within the genre list. Some films begin highly stylised as a mocumentary but then peter out to a regular film (District 9), some claim to be a mocumentary but really are anything but (Cloverfield), others are believable and can even create something that echoes into reality (Spinal Tap up to 11).
What impressed me about Blooded is it’s the most honest approach to a Mocumentary I’ve ever seen. The whole film is done as if it’s a documentary with it’s own re-enactment. So we get two sets of actors, the ones who actually lived through events, and the ones re-enacting these events. One of the nice little touches to all this is that in the story the animal rights campaigners filmed their actions and created a viral video on the web. We see glimpses of that video throughout the film, with the actors who were part of events in the roles, rather than the ‘re-enactment actors’. So at times you see the same scene being acted out twice, once by the ‘victims’ once by the ‘actors’, and every time the viral video stuff seems more real while the re-enactment stuff feels, well like a re-enactment. That sentence types like a confused mess but on screen it’s an impressive devise and adds greatly to the film, I just wish they’d begun using the viral stuff earlier into the story.
The whole re-enactment is a pretty cool concept and is executed marvellously, actually now I think of it, Blooded feels like you’re watching one of those crimewatch things, the events are shown, but in a way that tones down the real stuff, it’s about the message, these things happened rather then showing you every gory detail. A delicate approach but it makes the whole thing feel real and engrossing. The actors are cast pretty well in that they look enough like the actors they’re portraying so you know whose who, but still seem like a cheap troupe recruited for a cheap documentary.
The acting as well is pretty decent, a couple of characters bugged me, and there’s a hell of a dodgyNew Yorkaccent in there somewhere, but again it works. The actors being interviewed speak and act just like that, there’s repetition of points, tangents, silences, bits that really doesn’t mean a lot, rather then have a clever or witty dialogue, Boase has captured the documentary style almost perfectly and included its floors.
The other thing about Blooded that really gets my respect is that it’s deliberately toned down. Pretty much every bit of action is told through the re-enactment or the grainy viral video, so this could have gone the way of Cloverfield at anytime, but instead the camera always remains that documentary style distance, the action never flows too long or goes over the top, the feeling of this all being staged never leaves you, and makes it a thousand times more absorbing as a result.
I’ll end by conceding the first ten minutes are pretty self-indulgent, a lot of characters hint at feelings, generic shots of the isle of mull are shown and pages of text reinforce this is a documentary, it’ll leave a lot of viewers bored, but stay with it, about the 16 minute mark it begins to kick in and from that point this really is a good watch. I Still don’t give a shit about fox-hunting though, or toffs for that matter.
Written by Sam ‘I don’t really see the moral difference between fox hunting and fishing’ McKinstrie