Freeze Frame (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/06/2004

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Original, ultra-paranoid, enjoyable thriller with a surprisingly good straight performance from Lee Evans.

Those of you who have long since tired of Lee Evans’ rubber-faced, sub-Norman Wisdom idiot routine could be forgiven for approaching a film described as “a thriller starring Lee Evans” with trepidation (The Medallion, anyone?). Rest assured then, that a) Evans plays it almost as straight as Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine and b) that the film is a claustrophobic, stylishly directed thriller with a decent plot.

Ultra Paranoid Recluse

Evans plays Sean Veil, a man whose arrest and near-conviction for a series of brutal murders ten years previously has left him an ultra-paranoid recluse. Living in a reinforced underground basement, he has taken to videotaping and archiving his every waking moment so that he’ll have a rock-solid alibi should he ever be accused of another crime, because, as he says, “Off camera is off-guard”.

Unfortunately, Sean’s habit of following the details of grisly crimes by plastering his walls with photos has the drawback of making him look even more like a serial killer. Still, Sean remains convinced that sinister figures (lead by criminal profiler Ian McNeice) are trying to set him up and his fears prove true when the police finally come calling in relation to a new murder and the one tape that could prove his innocence mysteriously disappears…

Freeze Frame is the first feature by British writer-director John Simpson (no relation to the BBC news reporter) and it benefits from some complex editing as well as making full use of several different types of film stock. It’s also suitably dark and atmospheric, giving the film a slightly futuristic feel – the exact year is never given, but it feels as if the film is set in the not too distant future.

Evans Surprisingly Good

Evans is surprisingly good in the lead role, managing to be both sympathetic and also slightly creepy – you’re never quite sure whether he is genuinely deranged or just driven to the end of his tether.

His appearance also adds considerably to his performance – Evans shaved his head and eyebrows for the role (because Sean is meant to be paranoid about DNA evidence). He’s also ably supported by Ian McNeice, as well as Sean McGinley and Colin Salmon as the cops and Rachel Tipping the Velvet Stirling as Sean’s mysterious ally.

In short, this is an original, enjoyable British thriller that has fun playing around with different points of view and makes subtle points about the camera-carrying society we’re about to become. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 21/10/2017 22:04

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