Elfie Hopkins (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/04/2012

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Elfie Hopkins has a promising set-up and some suitably quirky set design but it's let down by a disappointing script and a one-note performance from Jaime Winstone.

What's it all about?
Directed by first-timer Ryan Andrews, Elfie Hopkins is set in a quiet Welsh village and stars Jaime Winstone as bored teenager Elfie Hopkins, who spends most of her days getting stoned with her geeky best friend Dylan (Hunky Dory's Aneurin Barnard, looking like a scruffy Harry Potter) and spying on the locals. When she gets new neighbours in the form of the Gammon family – headed by smooth-talking Charlie (Rupert Evans) – Elfie is initially charmed, but soon begins to suspect the Gammons of nefarious activity, so she turns amateur sleuth in order to investigate.

The Good
The small-town girl detective set-up is extremely promising (and would make a good TV series) and there are a several nice ideas floating about, aided by some suitably quirky production design work. Similarly, Rupert Evans is excellent as Charlie and there's terrific support from Misfits' Gwyneth Keyworth as weirdo daughter Ruby while Kimberley Nixon is good value as Elfie's rival, Pippa.

The Bad
Unfortunately, Winstone isn't nearly as quirky or charming as the script seems to think she is, delivering a one-note performance that never really sparks to life; it also doesn't help that she has zero chemistry with Barnard. In addition, the script consistently falls short of its own goals: for example, it aims for a Twin Peaks-style vibe but forgets to fill the village with interesting characters (even executive producer Ray Winstone only gets a few minutes of screen time) and it also tries to emulate the quirky stylised dialogue of films like Heathers or Brick but falls painfully flat in the attempt.

In addition, the film is neither funny enough to work as a comedy nor scary enough to deliver on the horror front, so it ends up floundering somewhere in the middle. It's also frequently uneven, with seemingly important characters (such as Steven Mackintosh as a friendly neighbour) randomly disappearing halfway through.

Worth seeing?
Despite a promising central idea, Elfie Hopkins never quite gels together thanks to a disappointing script and some uneven performances.

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Elfie Hopkins (15)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 01:00

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