Battersea Power Station [L. T. Hewitt, UK, 2019]

August 12, 2019

 

Battersea Power Station delivers on a simple, yet heartfelt story. The short explores the story of Peter, a young homosexual male struggling with the question of how best to reveal his five-year long relationship to his family. It is a story that, sadly, we are all too familiar with hearing. The pressure Peter feels to be a success in the eyes of his family provides the short’s central conflict. All of Peter’s actions, from the area of London he lives in, the cleanliness of his living space, the grade of his degree, and yes, sadly, his sexual identity, are all micro-analyzed by his overbearing, orthodox mother. The pair’s insurmountable friction drives the film, leading to the inevitable climax of Peter revealing the true nature of his relationship with his roommate Lloyd.

Unfortunately, the promising nucleus of the story is not realized across the duration of the film. Acting performances were at times wooden or over-the-top, hinting at performance inexperience throughout the cast. One scene, in which Peter’s brother Paul reveals his own suspicions of Peter’s sexuality, provides a touching reprieve, though unfortunately, by this point, it is too little too late to salvage a poor ensemble performance. In the opening scene, there were often pauses in dialogue where it looked suspiciously as though cast members were having to scan their brains to remember their lines, really slowing down the pace.

 

Battersea Power Station’s script is often cheesy, with transitions into different lines of conversation either overly sign-posted or highly unnatural. A prime example comes when Paul asks his sister Mary, entirely out of the blue, “have you got any secrets?” Mary eventually asks Peter why he is being so cryptic and why he bothered saying anything, to which Peter responds, “I don’t know.” Characters not knowing why they are asking things, sadly, served as an all too clear analogy for the unnatural way in which conversations flowed throughout the script.

 

Battersea Power Station’s strength is in its bravery. As a first time film from director, writer, editor, actor and producer L.T. Hewitt undeniably deals with some weighty and all too relevant social issues. Unfortunately, when analyzed critically in all its subsequent technical aspects, writing, performance, cinematography, sound recording etc., it just doesn’t quite manage to hit the high standards set by other offerings of short form cinema.

'Battersea Power Station' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.

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