The Hide (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/06/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

Sharply written, well acted two-hander that keeps you guessing till the end, though it's a little too stagey in places and the dialogue is often difficult to hear.

What's it all about?
Directed by Marek Losey, The Hide stars Alex MacQueen as Roy Tunt, a middle-aged obsessive bird-watcher who arrives at a hide on the windswept Suffolk flats, sets out his lunch, his short wave radio and a picture of his ex-wife and prepares to spend a happy afternoon attempting to spot the elusive sociable plover. However, his plans are rudely disrupted by the arrival of a bedraggled stranger (Philip Campbell), who claims he's seeking shelter from the storm.

After the initial shock, the stranger introduces himself as Dave John and the two men gradually begin to bond over sandwiches, tea and their personal histories. However, when news of a police manhunt arrives over the short wave radio, their new-found friendship takes an unexpected turn.

The Good
If the synopsis sounds familiar, it might be because The Hide recently premiered on FilmFour – it's being released here as part of the ICA's New British Cinema season. The performances are extremely good – MacQueen essentially reprises a role he's played several times before on TV (you'll recognise his face), but it works well in this context, while Campbell is suitably enigmatic and manages to suggest both menace and compassion at the same time.

Based on screenwriter Tim Whitnall's play (The Sociable Plover), the sharply written script owes a clear debt to classic suspenseful two-handers such as Sleuth and Deathtrap and keeps you guessing till the end with some delightfully macabre twists.

The Bad
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the setting, the film is a little too stagey in places and there are also some poorly-filmed, briefly-glimpsed flashback sequences that don't really work. However, the main problem is that the dialogue is often frustratingly difficult to hear, partly because MacQueen’s character mumbles a lot, but also because the sound seems badly mixed.

Worth seeing?
The Hide is an enjoyably dark, sharply written drama with strong performances from its two leads. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 19/10/2017 13:31

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