Two men hide out on a beach in the South of India in the hope that their past won’t catch up with them in Charlie Belleville’s Jet Trash.
The story focuses on Lee (Robert Sheehan) and Sol (Osy Ikhile) who have been forced away from their lives in London to have a chance of survival. Initially the film is light on information about what brought them there but as the narrative progresses the situation is gradually revealed.
Having the details revealed slowly is really effective as it allows the characters to appear mysterious in the earlier scenes with the audience perception of them changing as they find out more. At first my instinct was to assume that they were caught up in events beyond their control but the reality is far more complex than that and doesn’t necessarily paint them in the best light.
Robert Sheehan and Osy Ikhile are excellent in this film. They have a natural chemistry that makes their history believable and their friendship feels lived in. Both actors make their characters likeable despite the fact that they probably shouldn’t be. In the hands of lesser actors the characters of Lee and Sol could easily be bland and one note but their performances really bring them to life.
In many ways they are the complete opposite and the period of time they have spent together has started to fracture their friendship. Lee is someone who likes to roll with the punches and look at anything as if it is an opportunity to reinvent himself where Osy is fed up of all the running and lying. All he wants to do is go back to his old life and never see Lee again. Given the situation depicted it’s hard to disagree with him.
Eventually, Lee’s old flame Vix (Sofia Boutella) tracks them down and makes the threat very real since if she could find them then the people looking for them can’t be far behind. Boutella blends into the relationship between these characters well and the paranoia that builds between them is really interesting to watch.
Having the film set at Christmas in the South of India is jarring in a really good way. Visually it’s beyond what a Western audience would expect so it gives the whole experience an almost otherworldly feel to it. Since much of the film takes place in a drug induced haze it really comes together.
The film does have some problems. It takes a while to get going with far too many scenes showing Lee and Sol living an empty hedonistic lifestyle without much plot progression. When the villain, Marlowe (Craig Parkinson) shows up he isn’t the credible threat that he is built up to be but I think that’s more down to Parkinson’s performance than anything else. He’s definitely no match for the performances given by Sheehan and Ikhile so he seems less threatening by comparison.
An interesting film with great performance and characterisation. The relationship between Lee and Osy is the strongest aspect of the film as their chemistry makes their friendship feel lived in. Vix is a solid presence that affects this relationship in different ways. Some pacing issues and a villain that doesn’t quite seem threatening enough let the film down slightly but there is a lot to recommend about this.
I had the opportunity to catch up with actors Robert Sheehan and Osy Ikhile along with director Charlie Belville and producer Andy Brunskill as part of a Press Junket ahead of the world premier. Check it out here.
- great performances
- excellent characterisation
- the good kind of jarring visuals
- uneven pacing
- a weak villain